I recently had the opportunity to work on a Compaq Pressario (series 5000) that had a tendency to freeze-up. What I noticed was that Compaq has too many programs running in the background for the 128 megs of RAM that came with the computer.
What I did was increase the amount of RAM to 256 megs (another 128 meg card). I then saved all important (personal) files to a CD and did a factory restore using the restore disk that came with the machine. After the restore, I went to add/remove programs in control panel and removed all (and I mean all) programs pertaining to Compaq (the support wizards, BackWeb (a background downloading tool), the Compaq Internet connection wizard, even McAfee antivirus (I?m a fan of Norton)). Being an older computer, the warranty was expired and the online support thru their wizard was non-existent.
Next, I did a Windows Update. I use a broadband connection and the update didn?t take long. If you use dial-up, this will take awhile. After updating Windows, I installed Norton SystemWorks, which includes Norton?s Antivirus. I updated SystemWorks using their LiveUpdate feature. After this update, I ran SystemWork?s One Button Checkup feature. This repaired any registry anomalies created by the uninstalling of the Compaq programs.
Finally, I installed and ran both Ad-aware and Spybot S&D, eliminating everything they found to be in the system.
The only program I let run in the background was Norton Antivirus. I do not use auto-update features of any programs. Auto-updates run constantly, using the system resources. I update programs manually, at least once a week.
I ended up with a cleaner, more ?generic? Pressario than I started with, but it didn?t seem to freeze-up anymore. Good luck.