Sounds like you might be.
Have you tested the machine for adware, spyware, trojans, viruses, and just plain crap? Have you emptied your cache lately? Have you defragged lately? Do you have a gazillion programs/processes running in the background?
From your description, your machine is eaten up with trash. Just adding another drive and OS will allow all that trash to infect the new drive.
Are you running an active and up-to-date AV program? Do you have any spyware preventative measures running? Do you have a firewall? If the answer is no to these three questions, then you'll be back in the same boat in a short time.
My site below has information on how to clean your machine and keep it running like a top. Visit the Anti-spyware Suite.
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Sorry if this has been covered before--I'm new to this forum. I'm also starting to think I understand some of this stuff, so I'm clearly dangerous to my PC.
I'm running XP pro on a 3-year old Gateway P4 2.2G with 1G RAM. It's getting slower and more cranky, e.g., very slow boot-up, turns itself back on from hibernate, monitor periodically goes black for 10-15 seconds.
I bought a new WD 160GB hard drive and plan to install it as the slave to my current 120GB one, then load my OEM XP on it, along with the Gateway drivers and drivers for my various upgrades (new DVD drive and sound card). I would then switch the cable to make the new drive the master, boot from it, and reinstall most of my programs on it. Finally, I would copy the data I want to keep from the old drive to the new. If everything seems to be working after several days, I'll format the old drive and use it for storage.
Am I missing something important here, or will this really work? Thanks for any help/advice.