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start menu>programs button problems

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yesterday spend the hours sifting through forums trying out recommendations
junk file finder
(in this order)

previous to this two virus scans found almost nothing,
(mircotrend nothiong, the panda net scan found two items, one in registry and one in program files)
the first two progs on the above list found nothing.
spybot found 39 things which i 'fixed' because i can feel safe with the recover option.
regseeker found 995 things which i left because i couldn't feel safe with its vague recovery option.
junk file finder found 4gb worth of junk files which seems likely because i`ve never used disk cleanup, though you could call me mr.defrag guy. however i left these for the moment too, as all day i`d read how people who have no idea like me have been messing up their computers deleting stuff the didn't understand.

my hd is almost full and sometimes constantly in use so i`m defragging a lot. once last night and this morning, so at least thats in good condition. i'm using the xp defrag program, and noticing that when its got rid of the red fragged files, it still keeps plugging away moving the blue unfragged masses around. however i have noticed that the completion scale isn`t really working, working slowly up to 49%, or there abouts, and then says it finished.

this morning back on the computer again i noticed that the start menu > program button doesn't open. also a lot of the shortcuts on the desktop have dissappeared, mind you the less important ones, so this works for me.
I`m also noticing a slowness and kind of unresponsiveness to clicks when staring up apps. though this could be because the disk is 85% full.

i hadn't noticed any seeming hijacker attacks, no crashes at all, just i've read it`s good to keep your disk and registry clean, especially if you move files and change programs around a lot, which i do, but also there has been a slight increase in errors occuring, especially with windows player, and my mouse has been odd of late: the computer makes that noise as if i'm pulling out then putting back in mouses usb, during which time the mouse doesn't work.

this seems long but i want to give you a full picture. i`m using windows xp home.
thanks for any help you can give me.
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