I'm running XP Pro SP2 (3 ghz, 1gb ram), and suddenly within the past week or so, right after boot up, it's as though the entire system semi-locks. I have 4 apps/processes that are supposed to automatically start up right at bootup:
1- Internet connection
2- VPN to my work
4- MSN Chat
Prior to a week ago, the moment xp booted, these 4 items sprang to life within a few seconds and I was up and running. But about a week ago, after XP boots, the 4 items don't fire up for about 1.5 minutes. My PC doesn't appear to be frozen, though it is slow during that time. It's like it goes into some kind of limbo wait-mode, and then after a minute and a half, the 4 items suddenly spring to life as if they finally got the green light. As if some primary thread was blocking everything else from happening.
Also, my photoshop 6 now runs so slow it's intolerable. This may be unrelated (?).
- I have gone through msconfig and turned off everything unnecessary.
- I have uninstalled all unused programs.
- I have turned off several services that I know I didn't need.
- I have defragged my drive.
- I have doubled the size of my swap file / virtual disk.
- I have run the [worthless] Adaware 6 (all it does it deletes a bunch of cookies)
- I have rebooted many times. The bootup time happens fast, like usual, it's just that post-boot 1.5 minutes that is the problem.
I have examined Task Manager processes during the minute and a half limbo-time, and nothing is consuming cpu or memory. It all looks normal. I'm a programmer, so I'm constantly installing utilities and components, etc. So if you're wondering what i installed around the time this problem started happening, the answer is "nothing I can think of". It's possible that I did, but I can't think of any real junk that I installed recently that would put spyware/adware on my pc. And Adaware comes up with nothing. Spybot won't clean anything until you buy it, so I skipped that.
I hope somebody can help me out. I'm willing to try anything except reinstalling my OS, which costs me about 2 days of downtime because of everything I have to reinstall (about 30 tools and apps) and reconfigure.