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extreemly slow startup

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I am using a H.P. Pavilion s3729y, 4GB ram and was told by H.P. to buy a Pocket media drive, 500GB as well. Currently I am only using between5 and 6 GB of storage so this media drive really made no sense to me. It didn't solve the problem obviously but I certainly not a computer expert. I do have cable Internet and for some reason it takes about 15 minutes to boot up. It is not showing any error messages so I started removing programs with no success. I am using a virus protection called "Avast" which is free and a computer guy came to my house and installed it. As far as my problem goes I have a feeling it may be because of that virus program. I also have another problem, When I go to control panel and try to disable my computer to not hibernate, sleep and disable the screen saver it doesn't respond to any settings I choose, If I try to access the nvidia card it will not even open. I give up, I do all the recommended maintenance etc. on this computer. I also might add once the computer does access the Internet I can navigate to other programs and sign onto the Internet with no problem...I am thinking of getting a new computer but don't have the money for a Mac so if you have any suggestions I would appreciate it. I basically just use it for home use but I definitely want an upgrade from the type I have now. Thanks a bunch for any in put.
mod edit: removed email address.--ST
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