I have been struggling with the same problem you guys have. My computer is one I put together myself, and thankfully had not upgraded anything "hardware-wise" recently prior to noticing this problem. I have been following the board with interest, and hoping to find a solution. Here is the problem I have: For a long while I had a noticable stutter, like a half second pause, about every five minutes. On programs it wasn't so bad, but during video games or watching video/DVD's it was annoying. Tried what I could to rid myself of it (standard replace video drivers, etc.). No success until I ran RegistryFix. Problem found in "VXD" virtual device drivers...problem all fixed...until it returned in its present form. Now lately the whole system stutters badly, graphics/audio stutter, and the mouse even stutters if you move across the screen too fast while other stuff is going on. Audio is bad especially, if, for example, I start a song and then go on to other things. I can't remember it happening all at once, until I got hit with a virus and spent a lot of time removing software and damaged "stuff". I could have caused this myself in the registry or system files I guess...anyone else get hit with "spysheriff"? I have run registryfix,adawre, and numerous other programs...The problem shows up even at windows startup and shutdown screens...because the default startup/shutdown sounds stutter.
Intel Active Monitor shows my temps and power consumption. They are dead on the money, about 46C max with power not really affected, even after running Prime95 for an hour or so, with no warnings/errors. My antec 400W power supply also has a picky socket on it's outside (where the wall plug goes). After several shutdowns for no reason at all, I figured that out and replaced the wall plug. No more unexpected blackouts.
Western Digital (c:\40gb and h:\80gb) Diagnostics did a several-hours check of both drives and comes up Okay. ChkDsk likewise reported no errors. Was thinking the 40gb HD was bad, because it overheated on me twice in my old case (enough to actually shut itself off), but according to the software it's fine. Tried same drives with new cables, no change.
MemTest86 says my memory is fine...except for the one test that "hangs" halfway through. But memtest86 says in its readme that it will hang sometimes, and not mean a failed chip. Have two DDR 400 chips.... (PC3200 i think) 256MB each....I dont think a memory upgrade would hurt, but its not the problem. this system used to run fine on it.
Disconnected componets one at a time (DVD drives, modem, removed one memory chip then the other), thereby invoking the Microsoft "you must activate" dragon... but with no solution. I dont know how to test anything else. I have an Nvida GeForce Mx4000 GPU.... and swapped it out with my old Nvidia Mx440 for about 20minutes to see if it was faulty, but to no avail. Problem happens with audio...even when video not an issue, so I didnt think it was bad video card.
Could it be the CPU? I have a socket 775 2.4ghz chip and could upgrade...but hate to waste it if not the problem. Any way to test it other than prime95? CPU use doesnt really spike over 50% even with the audio problem going on, so its not as if its overloaded.
This is really irking me, like the rest of you. The only thing I havent tried is a reload of XP. I have Home now, and was given a copy of Professional (second edition), with a good key. I hate to wipe out the hard drive and blow all my settings and spend three days returning everything to normal, if it is a bad chip somewhere. I havent done a complete reload in a year or more. It could probably use it.
I have a new SATA drive on order from tigerdirect...I figure if I reload XP on the new drive, and the problem is still there, I still have all my old crap on the old drive and can restore it all simply by switching cables. Any other hints before I waste a day with Micro$oft?