XP MCE 2002 Troubleshooting

  Funktion 00:33 14 Sep 2009

I have recently started having issues with my media pc. Here are the specs:

OS: XP MCE 2002 SP2
Motherboard: Shuttle SB81V10 (using Onboard Ethernet, Sound, etc)
Processor: P4 2.8
Memory: 2GB DDR
Graphics:NVidia GeForce 9500 GT
Router: Netgear DG834G

I set up this system about 6 months ago and have had no problems with it. I have kept the install as clean as possible, having only really the following programs installed:

(All relevant drivers - current at initial system setup)
MS Office XP
ZoneAlarm 8
AVG Antivirus 8.5

All I really use the PC for is media (local pictures and music running through Media Center, as well as music through Spotify) and it has run flawlessly until today. Earlier when I booted I found myself unable to connect to the internet (wired connection). The ethernet icon shows my status as connected at 100Mbps but neither IE, Firefox or Opera can connect to any websites, AVG cannot contact the update server but I can ping the router and connect to its settings page. My laptop can still connect wirelessly through the router to the internet.

Thinking this may be a temporary glitch I tried rebooting. This time, the PC booted started up fine but then took forever to load the desktop: normal XP logo boot time, desktop background appeared as usual but then 3-5 minutes until any icons and the taskbar/start menu loaded. During this wait, the task manager was accessible and I could use 'run' to start any programs as usual. Once everything had loaded, I noticed that I could not access ZoneAlarm - when hovering over the icon in the tray it showed 'protection is up; UI is initialising' but would not go any further than this.

After a few more reboots and an unsuccessful system restore I am at a loss. The number of programs loading to the tray seem fewer every time, and when I close down explorer and run it again in order to refresh things there are still a few things missing (e.g. volume control). A few searches have revealed a number of similar problems with a number of (seemingly random) solutions but I was wondering if anybody has any suggestions. A full virus scan has revealed nothing. Safe Mode boots nice and speedily: Safe Mode with Networking does not (no desktop icons) - could this point to a fault with the Ethernet adapter?

A full reinstall (or attempted installation repair) may be on the cards but I am hoping to avoid this if at all possible. ZoneAlarm seems to have been going downhill over the past couple of years so it may be time to move over to Comodo or something if this turns out to be the root of my issues.

Any suggestions will gladly be taken on board, although due to time constraints (i.e. work) I cannot immediately act on anything.

Thanks in advance.

  Audio~~Chip 00:46 14 Sep 2009

Really worth paying for a dedicated internet security package like Avira v9 or Kaspersky internet security 2009 or 2010

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