I was running Vista Business SP2 32-bit for a while. It started to get slow to the point, where the HDD light was blinking very fast or stayed always lit for a given moment. I also had Flash player crashes all the time. I thought that it was a low memory problem or a "Vista problem". I was planning to upgrade to 64-bit Vista to accommodate more RAM. At this time, I had already 4GB for RAM installed. However, Task Manager showed that during some times I was using up to 75% of available RAM.
One day, after suspecting a malware infection, I backed up the data, installed Vista Enterprise SP1 64-bit. Upon starting the computer for the first time after installation and trying to configure various tasks, I noticed that it ran even slower than it did before the installation. Very slow, in fact. The startup process took forever (2 min perhaps). I thought that this can't be malware because I just reinstalled an OS(unless my OS image was infected). So I thought that the PC didn't have enough RAM for 64-bit. I checked Task Manager, and RAM was running at 27%-50%. HDD light was lit half the time I used the computer. I installed additional 4GB of RAM, and still HDD light was lit and PC was slow at times (some performance was gained nevertheless). I also noticed that during one time I didn't have any programs running and CPU was anywhere from 20%-98% and RAM was about 20%-50% in Task Manager. I also have some processes listed as *32 in Task Manager. Not sure if that is a concern.
Not sure if this is a malware infection or failing hardware, or bad drivers.
By the way, the system is fully patched with Windows Updates at this point. The PC I am running this OS on is a dual core CPU.
Thanks in advance,