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Slow programs, bad graphics

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Hi there, I really need some help. I recently bought my father in law's computer from him and formatted it because the graphics were bad and the programs were slow and choppy. After installing everything, the graphics are still bad, the colour seems faded and incorrect and the programs are still slow and choppy. I have an Intel Pentium III 733MHz, 512 Megs of RAM. My video card is a Radeon 9000 with the appropriate updated driver. I'm running Windows XP Home Edition with SP2 and I have all of the updates. We tried changing the video card to a different one and nothing changed. It's pushed correctly into the slot. I've played with the resolution and checked all of the settings...I'm so frustrated.

We've been looking into the video card for 3 days and can't find the problem, so I thought it was time to look into the OS. Thanks for anything you can tell me.
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