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Booting Issue, Horrible Performance Issue

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OK guys, I've done everything I know to do. Now I leave my problem in your hands. I hope I'm posting this in the correct forum.

My system is a Dell Studio XPS operating Windows Vista. I have plenty of hard drive and 6 GB of RAM. Several months ago, my computer started acting very odd at startup. Pretty soon, the only way I could get it to finish booting is if I ALT-12'd it to Boot Options and then canceled out. For some reason, that's the only way it will boot....and that is only if there isn't a sudden freeze.

For this reason, I got fed up with using my desktop and cut it off for about two weeks. Tonight, I cut it on and went through my ALT-12 ritual and, after startup, EVERYTHING was sluggish. Programs wouldn't open....alt ctrl delete wouldn't even bring up my task manager. In stead, I got a pop up saying FAILURE.

I looked into my built-in maintenance programs to see if any of them could locate issues. I ended up running Windows "Reliability and Performance Monitor" Couldn't make heads or tales of it. Any suggestions?
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