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desktop icons open slow or not at all

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Need help with a strange problem. When I start the computer everything appears fine, I can open any desktop icon and it starts OK, BUT if I close any application then try to re-open it again it doesn't open OR it takes a few minutes to re-open (if at all). I've never encountered this before and we have 3 other computers in the house with no problems.

This is a new system that I built for my son, Intel P4 2.4 Mhz, 1 GB memory, 160GB HD, AGP video card, DVD RW, LCD monitor, Matsonic MS9127C mobo w/ VIA P4X400 chipset. I've loaded all the supplied drivers, I have a firewall running.

I've reloaded Windows XP twice already and still no dice. Any ideas? Thanks very much for your help.
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