Here are the specs:
Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.100427-1636)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: System manufacturer [Custom built PC]
System Model: System Product Name
BIOS: BIOS Date: 10/26/06 20:34:04 Ver: 08.00.12
Processor: Intel® Core2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz (2 CPUs)
Memory: 2048MB RAM
Page File: 586MB used, 3456MB available
Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode
Card name: ATI Radeon HD 5600 Series
Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc.
After updating the November 30 patch update of the game, City of Heroes, I noticed my computer started experiencing slowness at startup, and even before the Windows XP UI appeared (there would be a black screen for five minutes, then it would go to the "Loading personal settings..." screen), which I assumed was a driver issue at first.
After it took approximately 20 minutes to fully start up so I can load applications without significant delay, I would open high-performance applications and they would receive "memory read" errors and "disk I/O" errors. I noticed there were twice as many svchost.exe processes running in task manager, and there were unexplainable memory usage spikes, despite the fact that the processes consumed very little memory. Some of the errors were 0x0000009c-based. After doing some extensive Google research, I discovered that usually those errors are triggered by viruses, malware, or spyware on the system.
I did a full scan of my two internal HD partitions and one of my external, and there were no viruses, according to the latest up-to-date Microsoft Security Essentials. Then I ran a full scan using my latest up-to-date Spybot Search & Destroy. No spyware. Then I ran the latest Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and did a full scan, which also yielded no results.
Then I proceeded to do a CHKDSK on all partitions. One partition, C:, which contains all the vital system files, passed with flying colors. So did the F: (external HD) partition. On the other hand, the D: partition, which contains all the "recreational" stuff (including games like City of Heroes and Steam) had some bad sector errors and CHKDSK managed to fix the files that were problematic. The files it found to be problematic were the City of Heroes *.pigg files, which are resource files (textures, graphics, sound etc.) for the game as well as the entire Steam directory. I figured that since CoH and Steam were trouble-makers on the system, I uninstalled them both, but startup was still slow nonetheless.
My next step was to update all the drivers on my system, so I went though the drivers to see if they required updating. With the exception of my Logitech mouse, nothing required updates. Then I went to my Device Manager to see if my hardware was healthy and if there were any problems with any of the drivers. Everything was in working order. I rebooted in Safe Mode to double-check and see if there were any issues, and there weren't any when I was in safe mode.
Then I went ahead and attempted to defrag all my partitions, which actually had very little fragmentation and lots of free space. After the defragmentation was done, I restarted my PC, and the startup was still slow.
The only possible scenario I have considered is that my internal HD is failing, but I just got this PC back from the repair shop right before Thanksgiving, and my HD was determined to be in great shape.
What do I do now?
EDIT: My computer actually runs fine about I let it work out its kinks for 20-25 minutes. I can load smaller applications, like e-mail, browser and stuff like that, but it still chokes on high-performance applications.
EDIT 2: Will provide HijackThis log on request.
Edited by GameRocker, 19 December 2010 - 01:39 PM.