thank you very much for your interest 123runner and davidbugeja.
I have completed most of the suggestions as above. (i do these reguarly as the computer has always seemed slow). eg spybot, disk cleanup, fragment etc
the only task i was not able to do was the removal of items from msconfig.....firstly, i am unsure as to which to remove...and secondly, when i tried to remove one, the computer woud not allow it....saying admin rights were needed.
i have attached a word file with 2 sreenshots of the items in my start up......can you adivse which ones to remove please...and also how to get round the issue of admin rights required.
really all i use computer for is letters, email and surfing net......and i run avg (so would many of the other items be unrequired?).....if i remove them from here will programs beging when i click on them?
(my son mentioned removing items from prefetch?)
further to this....i have another question which might be the cause...or help with diagnosis....a couple years ago, RAM was added...and when i click on "my computer, then properties"...it shows 768RAM.....however, i just noticed that while computer is starting, on one of the black screens, i noticed that it stated 64 mb.....could it be it is not recognising the ram....or is this not possible!? as it does say 768 on properties.
to give you an idea of how slow computer is...it is taking around 2 mins for start up (to get to desktop)...and then about 3 more mins before it "settles" or i can actually do anything on computer). and it finds it difficult to handle more than one task at once.
when the computer is run side by side with my sons laptop (which we have established is inferior on all specs we think (smaller hard dirve, lesser % free space, celeron m instead of pentium 4, 504 ram v 768 ram)....the desktop is left lagging minutes behind.....
I am very very grateful for your assistance...i really woudl be delighted if i can speed this machine up, instead of buying a new one.