Periodically (sometimes after a week, sometimes not for two months) my seven year old Pentium 3.0 G running XP3 will boot up nearly entirely but then take half an hour to finish. The desktop shows up but the hour glass just rotates. If I shut it down and reboot it still wants its half hour. It then runs fine. I've run diagnistics of the hard drive and the registry (Norton, Malaware, a long list of Dell diagnostics) none of which show any problems.
Is this something that calls for a re-install of the operating system? I've never done one with less than 2 days of pain between the reinstall and reloading all my software so I don't want to try it on a lark.
Is it an indication of impending hard drive failure?
I don't want to replace the computer. I spend 80% of my time using legacy software that won't load in Windows 8 (I tried on my wife's computer).
Any suggestions would be appreciated.