I am working on a machine currently that is having issues.
It is an XP home machine with SP3, IE8 and all updates.
All the hardware appears to function correctly and there are no hard drive issues.
It is running the latest version of AVG Free and has Malware Bytes installed. Both find nothing on any scan for any viruses or other intrusive software.
Currently when opening IE8 is immediately closes after opening. It will not open in no-addons mode, and when that is tried you can see the .exe open in task manager and then disappear from the process list. Ran a Hijack this scan and there is nothing on the system that should cause this.
I have uninstalled and reinstalled IE8 and after doing so I can now at least see error messages. In the event viewer there are "errors when trying to restore the last session" when opeining IE8 and the faulting modules is ntdll.dll. If you try to go to homepage instead, the browser closes.
Firefox will work on the machine, so it seems to be an IE issue.