Help with KDE crash problem

1. Please Help with KDE crash only as root (KFM part of problem?)

Hello,
Please help with this problem which started yesterday.

Problem: When I log in as root, KDE starts up as usual, but:
1) does not load any desktop icons,
2) the "start" menu is visible, but can't start most apps from it,
however, can use a few items, such as
logout
3) when checking system status with TOP (started from a terminal
window), it shows KFM to be
continually using ~99% of CPU.  Likewise, using PS, it is continually
running.  I'm not sure if this means
anything, but also under PS - the WCHAN value is 0?
4) I can start most programs by starting them from a terminal
5) when clicking on an entry in the menu, Konsole for example, nothing
happens, except the button stays
depressed.
6) PLEASE NOTE THAT WHEN LOGGED IN AS A USER IT WORKS FINE

What I have tried:
Manually: kill (pid associated with KFM).  This releases the visually
depressed button, but has no other
noticeable affect.
Can't come up  with any changes I have made which would have created
this problem?

Please help.  I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas. Also, I would
be glad to provide any more info
if requested.

I thought I had graduated to above newbie level, but now i'm not so
sure.

Thanks, Geoff

ps.  What are the CORE files all over my hard drive.  Can they be
deleted?

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