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Windows XP Will Boot but then Hang (Some Programs Won't Run)

2301 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Blade_Jones
My problem:
Every time I start Windows, everything seems to be working fine: It boots, loads the Windows welcome screen, I log in and my desktop appears as normal about a minute and a half after I hit the power button (Although I would like a shorter time, it isn't terribly long and is pretty consistent). The problem is that even though my desktop appears and I can access the Start Menu just fine, when I try to run certain applications, they take a really long time to appear, or they appear then immediately freeze for a long time (on the order of 10-15 mins, sometimes almost half an hour). After that period of time, all the things that had frozen or hadn't appeared show up immediately, and the computer is ready to go as normal and everything works fine. I had been living with this problem for a few months (I would just turn it on half an hour before I'd need to use it), but then I decided I needed to go ahead and reformat, thinking that would certainly fix it. Only one day after the reformat, the problem came back. Even after trying a couple of things (booting into safe mode or a diagnostic startup seems to fix it but I can't Identify any startup item that is the cause), I still have no idea what is causing it. I would greatly appreciate some help.

Examples of things that work (immediately after Startup):
Windows Explorer
Google Chrome

Examples of things that don't open/work:
Internet Explorer
Mozilla FireFox
All network connections/printer connections

Examples of things that freeze after opening:
Google Desktop
Windows Messenger
System Config. Utility (msconfig) after hitting Apply


Microsoft Windows XP
Version 2002
Service Pack 3

Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Quad CPU
Q6600 @ 2.40GHz
2.39 GHz, 3.25 GB of RAM
Physical Address Extension

Graphics: ATI Radeon 2600XT
Audio: ATI Function Driver for High Definition Audio
Misc: Dell Monitor w/ Integrated Webcam
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could be something running in the background tying up the processor, could be a sign of something overheating...or could be a sign of your memory is bad or going bad. or maybe even the the power supply could be failing... how old is the PC ...? have you cleaned it out lately with a can of compressed air???
So those are all good ideas, except every time it happens and I hit Ctrl+Alt+Del to look at the processes, the computer seems practically dead because no process (except an svchost.exe which I thought might have been the problem) spikes above 10% and most of the time there is nothing above 1%.
I doubt overheating... I didn't check thoroughly but I did touch the casing in a couple places and it seemed normal... the fan didn't even seem to blow that much when it was happening.
We did have a case of "bad power" a long time ago, but I already tried the fix for that and it didn't work.
Bad memory is possible I guess.
This computer was purchased new in 2007 and was reformatted a year ago and then again a few days ago.
Cleaning out the casing is probably a good suggestion, but does it explain why some programs work fine but others don't?

So I think I fixed the problem but I'm not sure how. I simply reformatted the drive again (actually 2 times to be sure) and now it seems to be working as it should just like a new computer. Everything runs right after boot no problem.
I still don't know what did it but at least it works...
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Next time zero wipe first before reformatting and reinstalling. That has fixed funky Windows installs for me in the past.
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