Here is what I would do under those circumstances:
1. Run both updated anti-virus and anti-spyware applications. Malware can often be a major culprit, and doing this is always my first trouble-shooting step.
2. Delete unneeded files or applications. Windows Disk Cleanup, and a little time reviewing programs, My Documents, and My Pictures, etc. can help.
3. Remove as many icons and short-cuts on the desktop screen as possible.
4. Review current start-up programs against the BC startup database, and remove those that are not needed. (I use the tool in Spybot for managing this, since it provides more information than Windows). Many applications have "quick launches" that make opening programs faster, but all take some amount of boot time and then system resources while waiting for you to open them ( say, MS Word). Instant Message services and media players seem to be notorious for having quick launches.
5. Run scandisk/checkdisk.
6. Defragment the hard drive.
Edited by jgweed, 06 February 2006 - 12:20 PM.