Basic system maintenance calls for cleaning, defrag, checkdisk, and 'scannow.'
For cleaning, I like ATF: http://www.atribune....tent/view/19/2/
(Stand alone-no install)
Defrag- JkDefrag: http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/
Download and un-zip. All that is needed is JkDefrag.exe. I suggest that you move it to an internal directory folder and put a shortcut on the desktop because it creates a logfile. It overwrites the log each time, so there is only one, but still... Ugly as sin, and as effective as it is ugly.
Works on very full drives and defrags everything but the page file.
Checkdisk is run from "My Computer." Right click the entry for your local disk (C:\) and open Properties. Select the Tools tab and press the button that says "Check Now." Place a check mark in both little boxes and then click Start. Windows will explain that it can't be done right now, but do you want to schedule it for the next boot? YES! Reboot.
This will take some time, so do it when you are ready to wait 15min to half an hour. When done, Windows will boot normally.
"Scannow" is a Windows self-check. All necessary files will be examined, and if any are missing it will ask for you to insert the XP CD. Do so when requested, and tell Windows to "Retry" as often as it asks until the process is complete. This means that for this one you need to be present the whole time.
No matter what the situation, these procedures will help. Will it be magic?
Maybe not, but eliminating these factors will help us focus in on the system's issues.
For general help with control of background and startup processes, I suggest that you take a look at my Vox: http://doc1101.vox.com/
I'm sure that much will be familiar, but I've included web addresses of useful tools and informational sites that help users gain control of their systems. The 'links' are not 'live,' so copy and paste the URLs to your browser address bar to access the referenced pages.
I will be very interested to hear about your progress.