Several years ago I installed Windows XP and since then I have faithfully used Auto Update to install all the updates recommended by Microsoft, including SP2 and SP3.

My PC has now developed problems, one of which is the inability to run some programs, including Internet Explorer. This in itself is not a major problem, since I normally use Firefox, but some of the other programs that I can't run do cause me problems.

In each case Task Manager shows the program to be running, but nothing happens. I have tried upgrading to IE8, and I have tried re-installing one of the other programs that won't start, to no effect.

I use Bitdefender anti-virus and neither this nor other AV software detects any viruses. I have tried disabling all startup applications, and even starting in safe mode, but nothing allows me to run IE or the other programs.

Another problem is that the PC seems to run very slow at times. Task Manager sometimes shows vserve.exe hogging the CPU, which apparently a common problem with Bitdefender that you have to live with. On other occasions the system is idle most if the time, yet still things are running slow.

I am therefore coming to the conclusion that something in Windows XP has become corrupted, so I would like to re-install Windows to see if that fixes the problem.

However, if I try to re-install from the original CD is says it can't because I am running a different version of Windows. I have checked this on the Microsoft website which says you cannot reinstall Windows after installing a Microsoft software update!!!!

This means that if Windows has become corrupt I will have to re-format my drive, reinstall my oringinal CD, run Microsoft updates, then reinstall all my applications. I obviously don't want to do this!

Does anyone have any other suggestions that might fix my problems?

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"I use Bitdefender anti-virus and neither this nor other AV software detects any viruses." Um... how many AV services do you have installed? One only is the Rule.
Try uninstalling Bitdefender [uninstall, not just stop it].
Use nLite to create a new cd with XP and SP3 on it; use it to run ...
sfc /scannow
Else Repair your installation with that new cd.

If your XP is years old, maybe you should try defrag your disk. Some reg cleaner could help too...

If your XP is years old, maybe you should try defrag your disk. Some reg cleaner could help too...

Thanks for the suggestions, but I do regularly defrag the hard drives and I also used CCleaner and Regcure regularly to clean the registry

I have only Bitdefender installed. I have also run an online test via the F-Secure website, and I have run Malwarebytes. I have checked for registry errors using CCleaner and Regcure. I am relucatant to unistall Bitdefender since it is installed via their website and I don't know if I could re-install it.

I tried your suggestion of nlite, which seems to be a nice and powerful program. It was apparently able to read my installation of Windows to create an installation disc, but it then asks which upgrades and updates are needed. I was able to add SP3 by downloading it from Microsoft, but I couldn't add updates since I don't know all the ones that have been added. As you know, Microsoft do auto updates almost daily, and many add uninstall options which clog up add/remove programs. I have therefore used CCleaner to remove old uninstalls.

I was able to use nlite to create a Windows XP SP3 CD. However, when I tried running sfc /scannow it wouldn't accept the new CD (or the original one)

You had some good ideas, but unfortunately they don't work

hiya,firstly has your windows disc got sp1 or sp2 incorporated in it,if only sp1 go to add/remove in control panel,put a tick in the "show updates" box and uninstall sp2 and sp3 from here.reboot your machine should now recognize your disc(make sure you are booting from the CD ROM drive).But i would suggest you do a windows repair first rather than a full blown format/reinstall

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