XP "START" Button stops working - requires reboot

XP Home SP3
After some time of use - perhaps days - system stops responding to mouse clicks on the START button; stops responding to CTL-ALT-DEL but will bring up task manager from a right click in the task bar.
Only a reboot seems to fix this.  
It just started happening in the last few weeks and doesn't happen all that often.
Yet, it's irritating and inconvenient.

I'm using Kavoom KM but I don't think that's the problem because the other mouse functions work OK and I can turn off Kavoom KM and the problem remains.
LVL 27
Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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VoidenCommented:
It's very hard to pinpoint the exact reason why your computer does that. Many factors come into play when a computer freezes.

I'd recommend you to look at this guide: link


It hope it may help you out.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
The computer doesn't freeze at all.....
Just a certain few things stop working normally.
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VoidenCommented:
You can't expect anyone to give you the exact reason to your problem........ at least with the small amount of information you've provided.

So the term freeze, could as well have been Lockups \ Hangs \ Stops Responding.

Try the link I gave earlier, and do some troubleshooting!
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Martin81Commented:
Try a system restore to a date before you started having problems, you can access system restore from start > programs > accessories > system tools > system restore

From the wizard choose restore my computer to an earlier time > click next, then pick the date you wish to restore to, click next again.

More detailed info on the process here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306084
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Actually, while I don't *expect* anyone to give an exact solution to this problem, I do *hope* for such an answer.  Otherwise I'd probably just go do the generic and odious global fixes.....  My first endeavor is to always preserve system configuration and go from there.
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hmarcbowerCommented:
When it's happening you could try bringing up task manager and killing the explorer.exe process.  It should reload itself if you've killed the last one and refresh the start button, task bar, and desktop icons.  That's not a solution, but perhaps a step in the troubleshooting...
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nobusCommented:
any errors in event log?
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Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
Post back the list of running processes in task manager when you lost the functionality of the start button and we can check them one-by-one to find out the culprit.
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nobusCommented:
you can also try a system restore to a date it worked!
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Don ThomsonCommented:
How much memory do you have installed on the system. When the amount of memory available to windows gets too low, it starts to swap windows and application stuff to the pagefile. When this happens, windows will seem to stop responding. In actual fact it's the swapping of bits of windows and other application code to the hard drive that is simply delaying the computer's response. With all the Service Packs and updates that Micrtosoft has to make the Windows "WORK", It is now taking almost twice the memory just for Windows itself that it did 2 years ago. Back then Windows would boot and use about 250Meg of ram - before it starts to load actual programs. Now it takes about 475 Meg to do the same thing. If you're using Norton or Mcafee - it starts to really draw downl on the available memory. If you bring up Task manager and go to the Performance tab - you will see a value for Peak in the bottom left Quandrant. In the top right quadrant is the actual memory available (RAM) - IF the peak get much above 75-80% of available, it starts swapping to the disk.

You mentioned that this problem occures after a "Few Days" - If you have 512Meg of Ram you will basically run out of memory in 3-5 hours of use. With 1Gig of ram you might last about 10-15 hours of use. At 2 Gig you might get 3-4 days

The solution if this is the probelm is to
1. Get at least 2 Gig of ram into the system
2. Make it a habit of restarting your system at least once a day

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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
The server {98D9A6F1-4696-4B5E-A2E8-36B3F9C1E12C} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.
This System event just before the time that I posted the question..
Repeated 4 times.

The system has 2GB of RAM and shows (right now) about 1/2 of that available .. with the typical number of programs open.

I absolutely agree with the amount of memory "needed".  I generally recommend 1GB for XP these days whereas 2 years ago .5GB was OK.
And, 2GB is better but not usually measurably so.

If / when it fails again I'll check the memory performance/status.  I really think if there *were* memory leaks that I'd already know about them.  I don't think that there are so the idea of memory use just going up and up isn't likely.  That is, it's not likely without memory leaks.  How could it?

Anyone recommending prophylactic reboots on a daily basis will receive cries about WINDOZE.  Not from me but .......  Not that I disagree with the advice though    :-)  but I'm not about to do that myself unless I see evidence of memory leaks or similar bad behaviors.  Since a reboot clears this problem it's a bit obvious.  I'm hoping for something better..... even if that's a bit optimistic.

One could also use something like Mem Turbo I suppose.

When it acts up again I'll take a snapshot of the processes.  Whenever that may be.
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nobusCommented:
i reboot (and power off) all my pc's at least 2x per day...never problems
XP is not a server OS, that is intended for keeping to running forever imo
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hmarcbowerCommented:
I use a Windows XP machine at work with 2GB of RAM that I reboot maybe once a month (generally just to make sure windows updates get applied).  I run Adobe CS, Office 2007, Firefox (usually with about 20 tabs open... I do have to restart this once in a while as it goes crazy and sucks up almost a gb of ram on its own)... if you have a clean install and make sure to clean up once in a while, XP does not need to be rebooted twice a day, daily, or every other day. :)
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nobusCommented:
does not have to ... maybe, but i found it a good practice...
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
It doesn't want to happen again often enough to diagnose....  

nobus: why do you also power down at reboot?  I rarely do so curious.
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nobusCommented:
>>  why do you also power down at reboot?   <<  i never said that, simply 2 x power down
reason : no power consumption when PC is not used - earth warms up enough as it is...
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