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xp Desktop Lockups, Freezes, & Hangs boot or after login.

Hi and thanks in advance,

system: HP Pavilion a465c
OS: xp pro sp3

Sometimes the pc will start and not recognize the hard drive.  To work around this issue, I open the pc and unplug the the hard drive connection start and turnoff the pc, then reconnect the hard drive and the pc may boot.

Sometimes to start the pc, I open the pc and ether modify the amount of ram or remove the cmos battery, start and turnoff the pc, and the pc may boot.

After performing the process more than once, i decided to reformat the hard drive and reinstall xp pro sp3.

At first the pc ran fine, I was able to configure the os, install ms office software and after I installed update the system would freeze.  I reformatted the hard drive again about 2 times and the pc Lockups, Freezes, & Hangs.

I reformatted the hard drive again, I also noticed the pc Lockups, Freezes, & Hangs after I login.  The system would not respond by mouse and/or keyboard.  I tried using a ps/2 and usb mouse and the same problem happens again.

At this point,  I am thinking about replacing the motherboard instead of purchasing a new hard drive and see what happens.  I know the pc is seven years old but it still good for doing school work, playing music, you tube, on-line games, and surfing the net.  

Please tell me what do you think?
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Thank you for all of your suggestions, I am going to perform a couple of test based on your analysis of my info.  I will update you all when finished.  But, I do understand that I might be better off just upgrading to a new box that can run windows 7 and donate this box.

thanks again.
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Hello,

The motherboard is bad and to replace the board it will cost me 135.00 + shipping (HP).
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Thank you all.