hi everyone.. I need some help from some gurus big time. i have an iMac 27" late 2009 mode which now has lion installed. I did a fresh install some weeks ago and everything was running perfect until now (no thanks to my tinkering) Before things went pear shaped.. i installed a fresh copy of Office 2011 and it worked fine. I also started mucking around with the permissions on the main hard drive (where os is installed) and I cant recall what i did exactly but i think i may have tinkered / changed or removed the "everyone" security setting from the main drive.. cant be sure but i defintely changed something. I dont think i shut down the beast until later that day. i noticed that it took agesss to move 1 photo into a desktop folder after which i proceeded to shut down. when i rebooted later.. it only got to the screen with teh apple logo.. mouse works.. but there's no login screen for me to enter username and password. i have tried booting safe mode and other options.. no luck. i tried recovery mode.. fixed permissions, verified disk... no luck.. i have a dvd bootable disk of lion so want to do a fresh install.. which im hoping will fix the issue. but i have data sitting on the desktop so cant do a clean install.. 1. how the heck can i pull out just my desktop data so i can do a fresh install? 2. is there a workaround that will prevent me having to do a fresh install? 3. have i mucked up some security /permissions settings on the main root drive? i tried creating restore section and saved it on an external drive but its formatted in mac. my other machine is a windows and it cant see the external drive. i tried creating an image of the whole drive (thought i could get software like power iso to read it on windows so i can retrieve my files) but progress bar just hung around quarter way and wouldnt complete so had to cancel that. can anyone here help me understand what the problem is.. and how to fix it without having to do a clean install.. more importantly i need to retrieve my data somehow? sorry if this was long but i wanted to be as descriptive as possible. thankss !!!!