You can discard malware as the reason. In addition there is nothing wrong in your system.
Perhaps the difference is by design.
Thanks for confirming what I suspected that I dont have any malware, that's why I posted initially in the non malware forum.
There is something wrong with my system though. I have been running download/upload scans for many years and I noticed this anomaly occurring several months ago. In addition, I have been having odd behavior with IE in general starting around the same time too. Further unexplained incidences have also been experienced. I am unable to completely render movies using various previously stable DVD Authoring software is just one example.
Since IE is still heavily integrated with Windows, I have strong reason to suspect some corruption with my XP software. Running SFC (scandisk) has not helped. Perhaps running registry cleaners in the past may have messed up things too. Repairing XP is not an option since the original XP does not have SP1 or SP2 installed. I am not comfortable in trying to create a slipstream CD.
Perhaps you can move this thread to the software section? Or should I repost there?