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Please help- any useful information is highly welcome.
As the title mentioned, my file explorer, start menu, and task manager are all cripplingly slow (and probably anything else associated with these). We are talking click on start menu and wait 5 seconds before it shows up. Same extremely delayed response for file explorer and task manager.

Everything else runs fine - this is a decent workstation meant for image processing. I run access, excel, firefox with 15+tabs, mem-hungry GIS programs and all kinds of stuff simultaneously and it handles everything fine. processes show 90+% idle, cpu usage between 1 and 5%.
This problem occurs maybe 20% of the time I am using the computer.

Specs
dell precision PWS670
Dual XEON 2.8
4GB RAM
Windows XP x64
Version 2003
SP2

I thought it might have been a recent version of endnote i installed, but i uninstalled that. I have an updated spybot search and destroy that I ran and cleaned up things, the systems uses an up to date symantec antivirus (it is installed on all university computers) I ran kapersky online and 1 other i forgot and found 1 virus which I cleaned. It found file labeled "suspicious" which was an exported contact list - *.pst file from outlook which I don't suspect to be a problem.
 
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