1. "APM keeps decreasing, as for example, to 25MB, then 18MB, and 160KB."
Your use of the acronym APM eludes me here. http://www.google.com/search?&q=WHAT+IS+APM agrees with what I think it is, which is "Advanced Power Management."
2. My short answers are at this point is to:
a. Review the Memory and Optimizing Windows notes at http://www.aumha.org.org/articles.htm
b. Don't run Zonealarm or similar. Just don't share a network drive and don't run servers or services and this OS has no exploit. ZA has been spotted to grow and this OS is not robust enough.
c. Eject all PESTS. Tools noted at http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6132-0.html?forumID=32&threadID=1313&start=0
At startup, System Resources(SR) are at 85% and Available Physical Memory (APM) at 57MB. As I open and close programs like Quicken or TurboTax or even Help and Support, SR drops to 62% and stays at that level. APM keeps decreasing, as for example, to 25MB, then 18MB, and 160KB. Then the computer hangs up.
System info: HP Desktop 6746c; 23GB free on hard drive; Total Physical Memory 190MB, available 37MB
Fixes tried: 1) selective startup with only systray and a few essential files. 2) ScanDisk and Defragment 3) Anti-virus scan of hard drive 4) Disable Norton AV and Internet Security Pro 5)Internet disconnect 6) delete temp files and empty recycle bin 7) deleted unessential files and programs from hard drive like Backweb, Encyclopedia, etc.
The 2002 Quicken Deluxe file gives most trouble. It's about 35MB and will close without warning after about 5 minutes.
Would you recommend System Restore, then if necessary, System Recovery? Or is there something I'm overlooking such as updates and patches?
PS I've been on this site reading members queries and replies for an hour and my computer is still up and running.
Would appreciate your help.