The other reply mentioned you were running Win 98, but I don't see that anywhere on your post.
This procedure has proven to be very effective over the years, but I don't recall if it was applied to win 98, so you may have to adapt it to that OS (or if you have XP, Vista or Win 7 you should be fine).
0. Ensure the Hard Disc Drive is not damaged or faulty.
Solution - Run CheckDisk:
a. Start> Computer >select C Drive>Right Click C Drive>select "Properties">"Tools" > click "Check Now"> Select both boxes and click "Start".
b. This can take a long time, so let it complete (may take all night or longer. Be patient.)
1. Ensure your PC has as much memory (RAM) as possible.
Solution -- Find out how much RAM your PC has:
a. Go to Start > Right Click "Computer" > Properties
b. This will list the processor type and speed as well as how much RAM is installed and what version of windows is running along with the Service Pack #. Write all this down as it may be needed later.
c. Go to Yahoo.com and input your PC's name and model # followed by "memory" and see what's listed. This tells you what kind of memory you need and how many "Sticks" your PC will accept.
d. Note the specs of the memory and use this to compare prices.
e. Get the maximum amount of memory your computer can hold and install it (you can Yahoo! "How to install memory on a (your model name and #)" to find some videos on how to do this.
2. Ensure the PC is protected.
Solution - Update existing Anti-Malware software or install if there are none.
a. Open the Anti-Virus program;
b. Ensure it is up to date.
c. Open the Anti-Spyware program;
e. Ensure it is up to date.
d. If no Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware, get good programs (SpyBot is good as mentioned by the other reply, but it won't work well with other anti-spyware programs. Another alternative is Ad Aware. Use one or the other).
e. If getting another AV program, remove the old one before installing the replacement one.
3. Remove Malware from your PC
Solution - Run the Antivrus and then the Antispyware scans (can take a while if never done. Be patient):
a. Scan the whole system with the Anti-Virus;
b. Do whatever it recommends with anything it finds.
c. Scan the whole system with the Anti-Spyware;
d. Do whatever it recommends with anything it finds.
4. Next, ensure the Registry is clean.
Solution: Get and run a good registry cleaner.
a. Check to see if there is a registry cleaner already on the system;
b. if none, get CCleaner. Search it or go here: http://download.cnet.com/ccleaner/
c. Run the Registry cleaner till it finds and corrects all errors.
5. Now you can defragment the drive.
Solution - Get a good third party program that will defrag your drive and keep it defragmented.
Fragmentation is basically broken-up pieces of files and free space randomly scattered all over your disk. The disk has to work a lot harder to save files in pieces and then to find them again and this really slows your computer down. It also wears out your disk, as the more the disk is used, the faster it wears out.
Basic defragmenting finds all the pieces of a file and puts them together, saving time.
Windows has a built-in defrag tool in the accessories area under "All Programs", but it is very slow and you cannot use the PC while it is running (some users complain that it did not completely defrag their disks despite running all night).
a. Here is a Top 10 Reviews side-by-side comparison of the best defrag programs around:http://disk-defragmenter-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
b. Select a program and install it. The better defrag programs are automatic. The gold medal winner in the above review defragments while you use the PC and it will also prevent fragmentation.
You can get a free trial for the gold medal winner via the review or at the site listed below.
c. Defragment your disk drives. The best defrag programs are very fast. You will be able to see the progress and with the gold medalist, you can defrag
and use the PC while it is working with no problems.
Once this all is done, your PC will be in the best shape possible.
Good luck and let us know if you have any questions (post your questions and I'll answer then as best as I can).
Bill R TechSpec