and this is not for me, it is for my cousin to keep track of his dairy records, so getting rid of me is not an option.
Can't your cousin use something other than ME? He may have to, or you may at least have to wipe the thing and reinstall it...!
Knoppix is a live linux distribution, download the ISO image, burn it to a CD, boot from it and then just play around for a bit. If it works ok and doesn't conk out I'd recommend wiping and reinstalling.
Might also be worth checking the SMART status of your disk in case you haven't already, just in case it's the disk that's dying and causing the issue.