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Start Button keeps flashing as if clicked in XP

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I have an unusual (to me, anyway) issue on an XP box I support. It seems to me that some process or software is constantly trying to start up. The Start Button keeps flashing as if it has been clicked, and you momentarily lose the application you're working in.

This machine runs QuickBooks, and if the user is working, say, in an invoice, whatever sh has typed in a field is lost when the event happens. Obviously this is not the case in e-mails, documents and spreadsheets.

I have removed all unneeded software, but that made no difference. There are folders shared on this machine that other users access - the Point of Sale machines obviously access the PoS database to ring up sales, but they have done this for years and this issue is a recent one.

The machine is running Trend Anti-virus software that is kept totally up to date, and the OS (XP Pro) itself is totally up to date with all automatic updates.

I am not a programmer, so I don’t know what to look for on that side of things. I have monitored the processes running and nothing pops up when the “flash” occurs – there’s no jump in the RAM usage either, so I can’t readily see what might be causing this. I have made sure it’s noting so prosaic as a paper file lying on the keyboard, or a loose connection between the PC and the keyboard or mouse.

Any assistance would be appreciated because it’s driving the user nuts.

Thank you
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