[ubuntu] New Install...Problems....Flash drives, settings not saving, desktop icon

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I formatted my laptop and installed Ubuntu 11.10 yesterday. Since I have developed a few problems. 1. It will not read my flash drives. This seems weird since I installed from a flash drive. 2. User setting reset on "Restart". Things like my weather widget, Google Chrome saved to dock bar. 3. I cannot create a "Computer Icon". I already tried to use Gnome Shell to do this. 4. It will not let me change my background pic. (Not a huge deal. I have tried several ways to do it.) 5. My wife has an Acer One D255. This netbook has problems with Ubuntu, can an (Hardware)