Three yr old computer - having more and more problems. Finally decided to bite the bullet and go for a full reinstall. No major dramas - drivermax helped (apart from a very strange desktop when first rebooted - cured by downloading the latest NVIDIA driver). What a difference - all functions restored and everything much quicker. For those who think they have the knowhow to do this, go for it! BUT - read the advice given in numerous threads in these forums to make the job as painless as possible (I was up until 2 on Sunday morning not having realised how long the reformatting of the drive can take!).
An XP installation will last a lot longer than its predecessors, but most of us who actually use a PC rather than use it just for surfing and word processing, will tend to mess up the install as we use it. The re installation frequently has as you've found out, spectacular results. But as you point out can be time consuming and perhaps not for the faint hearted.
Thanks rawprawn - it's a real relief to have XP back to how it used to be - it's odd how little thing had happened over the years - type 'msconfig' in run, and 'can't find that link'. Lost 'help and support' a few months ago. IE7 and 8 would lock-up for no reason. All very strange but, thankfully, back to how it should be.
Yes, Belatucadrus - time consuming for sure. As I mentioned, the only real problem was with one of the drivers. Not sure why drivermax didn't pick that one up. Driver disc from manufacturer was useful too (Evesham, RIP).