Programs very slow to load when double click document directly. OK if opened within application

I have two XP Pcs that have suddenly developed this problem. it's happening for all applications.  If I click on ,lets say a pdf, nothing happens for about 45 seconds, then the PDF will open. This happens for local PC documents as well as those on network shares. If I open Adobe Reader first and then open the pdf, it opens instantly. Nothing has changed on these two PCs, no updates, new hardware or software, nothing. If I disable the network connection, program and document load instantly. I have noticed also that in Tools ..Folder Options, if I click the File Types tab the 'searchlight' takes about 45 seconds to display the file associations. All of the Associations are correct, and the DDE options are the same on these PCs  as on the working PCs.

Gerarde
GerardeDelaneyAsked:
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johnb6767Commented:
Any Disconnected Mapped Drives? If so, delete them....
Any shortcuts in My Network Places that are NON reachable? If so, delete them.....

Any increased CPU Usage?
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KnightsmanCommented:
A file will take longer when you open it like that, bu tnot 45 seconds.  

Do you possibly have a virus?  Is something currently scanning that slows down the program when it opens?
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GunnigisCommented:
Try clean booting Windows:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
There are no disconnected network drives. The PC finds all network resources quickly. When I double click on a file there is no increase in CPU activity until the program actually starts to load (45 seconds or so) and the file is then scanned by AV. Anti Virus reporting file system clean. If I disconnect the network cable or disable the network connection, local files will load instantly on double-click.
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
I followed the 'Clean Booting Windows' article before I posted here.
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johnb6767Commented:
Process Monitor
http://live.sysinternals.com/procmon.exe

Set the filter at the top to Include "Result" is "Not Found" then "Include", and then try opening a file. Then go look at the logging to see if you can spot anything that XP is looking for....
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestion Johnb. Disabled the Anti Virus scanning. Ran Procmon. No obvious errors looking for programs or processes.
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JonveeCommented:
Are you running a Norton/Symantec product?   If yes, you could try disconnecting from the internet & temporarily disabling the product to see if the problem is resolved...in fact try disabling whatever AV you're running.

Another option perhaps>
"Long delay before files appear in My Computer in Windows XP":
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=819017

You could also try opening the Task List and end any tasks related to a HP printer if you can determine which they are(if indeed you're running one).  
Now is there any improvement?
If yes, you could consider uninstalling the HP software, then reinstalling it to see if issue is resolved.
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
We are not using any Symantec / Norton Products. i've disabled the AV (Sophos) but that made no difference. I've looked at the support article but the symptoms were not really the same. When I open the task list, there is no CPU activity at all during the 45 seconds between double clicking the document and the programs loading and being displayed.
We do have HP printers. I have removed them. In fact I have removed all printers from the PC but there has made no difference unfortunately.
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JonveeCommented:
Ok, thanks...
Well, you scanned for viruses, how about Malware?
If not scanned i recommend downloading & updating Malwarebytes anti-Malware, from here:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php
When updated, reboot into Safe Mode by depressing F8 and run a scan.

Tutorial available, if you require >
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t169669.html
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JonveeCommented:
Although less likely, file corruption is also a possibility.   You could try the System File Checker, & will need the Windows CD ...
Start>Run       .. and then type SFC /scannow
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

No resolution, but a useful comment or two to consider, including the obsolete network shares idea >
"Documents and Programs slow to open by double clicking icon":
http://forums.techarena.in/windows-xp-support/526156.htm
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
Looking at the obsolote network shares. Though there were none in the ' my network places ' area, there were certainly some located within the HK_Classes_Root. Will weed them out and give it another go.
 
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
It was difficult to find a definitive answer to this question as there are several problems that might show the symptoms that I was experiencing.
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GerardeDelaneyAuthor Commented:
I found a solution to my problem. Thanks to Jonvee I found that there were several references in the HK_Classes_Root registry hive to an old server that these two PCs used to connect to a couple of years ago. Had to use a freeware program called RegScanner and searched for references to UNC paths (beginning with \\) to shares that may no longer exist. Realised from the list presented to me that the server had recently been stripped of much of its data (an consequently its shares, and had been given a different IP address.

Thanks to everyone who has tried to help with this.
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JonveeCommented:
Thanks for the feedback....glad you've resolved it.
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