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CPU at 100% all the time

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(this is kind of long. sorry) :tazz:

Ok so I get to work this morning only to find my PC in running sh****er than usual. Nothing will load. Not programs, not folders, nothing. I opened task manager and 5 minutes later when it decided to show up, I saw that explorer.exe was running at 99. I know that before it was my System Idle Process taking up that much. I don't know what changed. I finally managed to get the thing restarted and used system restore to move the computer back a few days. That helped with the CPU usage....for now... but I know once I try to shut down the PC, I will have the same problems again tomorrow upon start up.

I have a Dell computer
WinXP pro (upgrade from the pre-installed Home)
2.8 GHz processor
512 MB ram

I have run scans by the following:
AVG anti-virus
Kaspersky online scanner
Trend Houscall (as I speak)
CW Shredder
Spybot S&D
Ewido Anti-Malware
Trojan Hunter

I have Microsoft POS (perfect name for it if you ask me) since this is the computer at my retail store. I thought this was causing the majority of my system problems and after talking with the techs, they helped me out and told me to upgrade to XP Pro because the majority of my instability was due to Home Ed. So I upgraded. And my PC is still running incredibly slow.

I first noticed something funny going on when I plugged my Iogear card reader for my digital camera into the USB, the PC detected the new hardware, and then absolutely nothing happened. I had no way to get the pictures off of the camera. I plugged it in on another computer and it would detect it, then a window would pop up asking me if I wanted to transfer the images.

So, I talked to a friend of mine who is supposed to be a "professional" with this kind of thing, but his answer to everything is re-format, re-install. He took a 2 minute look at the processes running in Task Manager and decided I had a virus when he tried to shut down all my svchost processes and got errors. I refuse to believe there is anyway I have a virus. Not one program detects any kind of spyware/malware. The worst that has been found are some "tracking" cookies. And I refuse to try to solve the problem by reformating every two weeks when my system gets slow. I can't afford to do that due to the fact that my store inventory is on this PC. And all I can do is restore the PC to the way DELL had it when I bought it.

Any ideas as to what the cause of this slowness is and why it won't show my card reader? It boggles my mind as I am not THAT illiterate with computers.
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