How do I restore PC when Restore doesn't work?

My PC ( 2.6 ghz, 700 MRam, XP Pro.) was working great until one night in October.  On this night I was using '#1 DVD Audio Ripper 1.2.40' , later my brother in law was using yahoo messenger, and then service pack 3 was installed.

My PC then started 'acting funny'.  My pandora music would become jittery and glitchy and log off and on became very slow.  Shut down and restart was slow.  Now I had a problem like this in the past and I was able to recover from the problem by doing a restore.  So, in this case the first thing I tried was a restore.  The restore didn't work.  It would act like everything was fine and then at the end of the restore process it would say something like, sorry couldn't restore.  I tried several restore points and no luck.  I then thought that maybe service pack 3 was preventing it from restoring to a service pack 2 condition.  So I attempted to uninstall service pack 3 and restore no luck.  

I then ran virus scans ( found nothing ), registry fix programs ( they fixed a bunch of stuff), and defragged the harddrive.  None of which helped.  As I am typing this my Pandora music went glitchy, my process explorer ( sysinternals ) shows that my 'Hardware Interrupts' jumped up to 40 percent for no apparent reason.

Sorry for the length of this question but I wanted to give you all a good understanding of what I am up against.  My next step will be to wipe out the PC and start over but what a pain...If anyone out there can help me fix this, I will be eternally grateful.

Thanks in advance,  ~AJ
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You should have a restore point when you loaded SP3 and it should state that as the restore point.  Unless it was a while ago (a week or so) then you should still be able to use it and back off SP3 and whatever else has been installed.  

I would stick to the basics on this one.  Download Search and Destroy and adaware and kill off any spyware that is on your machine.  You may want to visit to get the basics and assistance on ridding your computer of spyware.

follow mighty's suggestion or just go to your add/remove programs and uninstall service pack 3.  That would be the easiest thing to do.
ajthomas12Author Commented:
Thanks for the speedy reply, I'll try downloading search and destroy and adaware.  So far I've only tried Spy Hunter.

The restore points are no longer an option.  After they refused to work...I thought that the virus or ? had affected them.  So I somehow managed to remove them all when I ran McAffee 's 'stinger' anti virus software.

I have an old backup I made with microsoft's backup...Could this fix my problem?  If I restore from that will I lose all my data created after that date?

I'll run the spyware programs suggested and let you know how it goes.

Thanks, ~AJ

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Yes, the old BU will solve your problem if you do a fresh install of XP and then restore the backup.  If you just do a restore it will mix in older file versions with newer file versions and along with other files that didn't even exist at the time you performed the backup, and yes, you will lose everything after that date if you do a clean wipe of XP.  

The reason that I am saying that you do a clean wipe of XP before you do the restore is because of the possibility of mal/spyware on your computer that will NOT go away if you do the restore (there is a chance, but it is not worth doing all of that and not having it work).

You would be better off just doing an re-install of XP.

But lets not get hasty here, run the utils and let's see what comes up.

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i suggest a fresh install; it will be faster and better, than trying to "fix" things
so backup your dta, so you have everything you need - copy it to an external disk, or on cd/DVD
you can even make an "image" backup of your old drive, so you are sure not to loose anything !
be sure also to download the drivers for your system, if you don't have the drivers disk

just post back what you need !
ajthomas12Author Commented:
Ok, Here's what went down last night.  

Downloaded SpyBot search and destroy but could not install it.  I got a 'Server Error'  Could not connect to  Which is interesting because I could ping it and I could type it into my url and go there without a problem.  hmmmmm   Next....

Downloaded, installed, and ran Ad-aware over night.  It found a bunch of cookies and a malware suspect but I think that was a new 'feature' by microsoft and qwest that they recently released.  Some sort of new search help thingy.  I had Ad-aware remove them all and then re-started, which was as slow as before.  

So far not much glitchyness this morning, but it's early.

I think I will use the pc today and see if there is any improvement... tonight I will try to back up everything to prepare for the big WIPE.  However, I have not completely lost hope yet....

I saw on the download site that they had a TrendMicro - Hijack This program.  Would that be worth a try?

Where are the drivers?  so that I can back them up......or are they located in a lot of different directories?

Thanks, ~AJ

Remember to get this edition of Search and Destroy:

Version 1.6

You may have downloaded the wrong Search and Destroy as there is another out there that doesn't do anything like sourceforge's S&D.
yes dowload hijackthis; and^post your log file
but i still thinks you're far better off with a fresh install
ajthomas12Author Commented:
Well,  I got Spybot to install and I ran it last night.

( Of course ) it found some things and I had it remove them.  When I restarted it did another scan of some sort and found nothing.  I then restarted again just to make sure everything was finished and it still took a lot longer than it used to.

Having said all that however I do think it might be running a tad bit better.  I didn't seem to have as much lag or as frequent sound glitchyness as before, that I am growing somewhat accustomed to.  Or perhaps I am just a hopeful person.

Next, I will focus my efforts on backing things up, unless there is another suggestion.  Hijack this could be something to try, however, I understand that it is somewhat complex to deal with and I don't know if I am up for that.  A clean install is looking more and more like the way to go.  Even though I will miss some of the older programs that I have on there for I don't know if I will bother to reinstall them ( don't know if I want to) and I am not sure how to back up their data.

Thanks, ~AJ
if you have questions, this is the site to ask them...
I can say that if you do persist with Hijack this then be sure to add the category for people that are experts in hijackthis.

I will say ditch McAfee - it is useless!

get better AV protection

AVG free is "okay"
alot of people like Avast

Norton is excellent BUT is a resource hog!

Your best bet right now is to

1.backup your important data
2. reinstall windows
3. install your AV and spyware apps (personally i have never heard of spy hunter but the best out there are Spybot S&D, Ad-ware and Super Anti-Spyware)
4. install windows updates and latest drivers
5. install your programs and such

then go looka t Acronis TrueImage, it wills ave you so much time if you ever need to reinstall windows again!
P.S - most programs you cant back up due to registry settings they use which will be removed. if you need them, find them again, but a format is good i find, you rtend to get ride of ALOT of old crap you dont use any more and your system becomes nice and fast again!
ajthomas12Author Commented:
Thanks for all your help in this matter.
ajthomas12Author Commented:
Happy Anouncement!!

I found the problem and it was easy to correct.  

It turned out to be that the primary IDE channel, for reasons unknown, changed from 'Ultra DMA Mode5' to 'PIO' mode which caused a crazy amount of hardware interrupts which slowed my system down terribly.

SOLUTION:  Right click and uninstall the 'Primary IDE Channel' and reboot.  Once you've rebooted and it has reinstalled the drive, it will ask you to restart again and..... walla .... it's fixed!!!!!!  :)

This is the link to the forum question where the solution was found.

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