What you should understand is that things happen for specific reasons. It's not XP that is causing your problems. If you have XP and SP2, than honestly, I can say that. It is something that you put on your computer or something that was put on your computer. Do you share your computer with anyone (whether, sibling or parents or friends)..
Here's is another little tidbit that used to always get me in trouble.. Some websites you go to will install spyware and adware(even on Firefox, I scanned my computer last night with Spybot S&D, and it pulled up 109 problems, all of them were just pretty harmless information collectors, but still 109... on Firefox,, I only use firefox..
Well, I removed them. After I removed them, I scanned again, 109 appeared again. And again. Finally I shut down all programs and scanned again. 50 were still on its radar. So, I restarted my computer, shut down all active tasks that I could from my taskbar and ran Spybot again. 50 came up, and I removed them all. I scanned again and finally it had cleaned all them up. ... I am going to run Spybot again to see if any got installed since that time..
I don't go to any websites I know will probably try janky things as far as installing spyware/adware.. I have a firewall through my internet connection and an active virus program. I use a browser with blockup capabilities(firefox) and still I get a lot of programs. Basically, even over all the protection, these things still manage to install. Granted, the ones I found on my computer were relatively harmless, if they had been worms or trojans or something of a harmful nature, than there could have been irreparable harm to my OS made..
Just being that I am very experience and knowledgeable in keeping my computer clean and only installing kosher software, I don't have the kind of problems I used to have.
Basically, some of these protection programs may not be doing the full job in cleaning things up... Just try it out yourself after you have removed threats.. Rescan..
Anyways, It isn't XP. If you want to think it is XP, that's your problem. And your other problem, namely your computer acting up(if that be the case), won't get solved.
Also, if you decide to goto Linux later on, this is also your choice. You can join the elite few (i.e. 3% or less) who put up with the complete lack of software, and lack of support/tech that comes with free and opensouce versions of Linux. There is such an immense amount of information and research you need (to do) JUST to get close to the functionality that you start out with by DEFAULT with Windows...
If you can't figure out the source of the problems, here is an easy solution that doesn't require you to format your harddrive...
If you think of all the time you will spend getting LInux to work and figuring it out, it would be just as much worth your time to just reinstall Windows...
Now, there is a fast way to do this WITHOUT formatting your HDD. You can just do a full REINSTALL(maybe called FULL RECOVERY). What this will do is merely install Windows again as if Windows weren't installed. Right over itself. Pretty much in the same exact spot.
Now, your registry will be reset (IE, there won't be any of the programs you had installed will be registered or in the start menu).. But the time and efficiency of this method more than pays off for spending an hour every two weeks to reset your computer..
Just a Disclaimer, Some people say that this can overwrite some of your data, But I have done this DOZENS of times, back when I had Win 98, and oh GOD Win ME (Did I say dozens,,, I reinstalled my OS nearly every week for 6 months when I had ME
Make a setup disc with all your updated drivers (or just download them and put them aside in an easy to find folder (ie, not your My Documents or anything that belongs to your User/log in name or any of the ones on the old install. Choose a directory that won't be deleted during reinstall (e.g. C:\Cant Get Me\Drivers
1> Reinstalling - You can actually load the Windows Installer right from within Windows.. Just insert your recovery disc and autoplay feature should go... Find the Install/Repair.. It should give you an option to just repair or do a full reinstall.. Do a reinstall.. After that you just follow the prompts like normal
2> After Windows is done reinstalling, Install your drivers and programs.. And voila, back to brand new
NOTE: I used this technique with an OS that people will quite honestly and openly tell you was quite unstable. I perfected this technique to an art and a science. Windows ME is what made me such an expert at troubleshooting OS and clashes between programs and basically anything software that caused me to think of murdering my computer and mouse and speaker and desk and wall and floor and refrigerator.. oh, and my microwave.. Thought of that too after I stopped myself from murdering all the above... Anyways, in all Honesty, I know a bad/unreliable OS when I see one, and XP is a very stable OS. It was written ENTIRELY from highly STABLE NT/2000 kernels.. They removed all of the old 98*admin code from it.
Another note : If you do have to reinstall your OS, try something different everytime .. E.g., if you installed one program that you might think is causing your problem, don't install it. Find a better program or learn to live without it.
Virus and spyware blockers are almost the only programs I know of that cause major clashes in XP. Other than that, XP is much better at managing memory and resouces as well as keeping a closer eye on non-responding programs. This way the user can shut it down or otherwise faster...
Anyways, I really hope you don't have any more problems.. Just becareful everything you put on your computer. Remember, just like you, your computer is what it eats. If you put nothing on your computer, it will be nothing. You put shady things on the computer, guess what....
PS: Just a note, something that occurred to me, When I install extensibles in Firefox, I read all the User reviews/comments. If I find that it does funny or bizaare things, I don't install it... Not sure if this helps... Maybe you might want to check some forums on Firefox and probmes... Anyways.. Goodluck