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 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978788 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?