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WinXP Explorer

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Strange problem
My laptop has been running quite slowly for a few days now. I have run a defrag and cleanup on the disks and this has helped quite a bit.

But when I right click on the Start button, I get a freeze along the task bar, or if I right click on an item selected in Windows Explorer, Explorer hangs.

Also, if I try to delete something through Windows Explorer, it hangs, and if I select an object in Explorer and try to access the File drop down menu item, it hangs.

When Explorer hangs, I have to do an 'End Program', and restart the application, but not the OS.

I've followed instructions in your 'Do you suspect a malware infection?' posting which is excellent. But has not revealed anything untoward.

Any ideas what the problem might be?

Many thanks in advance

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