Sounds like you've tried just about everything. There's only two things I can think of to try. One is your hard drive might be too full. How much free space do you have left? If your free space is less than 6 GB then I think that might be the cause. Second, if the hard drive isn't too full and your computer was running fine a short period ago, you might think about a system restore.
To get all your photos and other data off, an external hard drive would make it extremely easy but expensive. Do you have a second computer connected on the same network as the one that is going slow? If so, google how to share files between computers, and you should find plenty of articles describing how to put files and folders on a network in which case you can simply transfer them from the slow computer to your other computer without any external source like cds or external hard drives. If not, a thumb drive could work, be less expensive, easier than cds, but a tad more work than an external hard drive.
Ok I will say this. I am not a computer expert but I'm pretty good with them. I have a Dell dimension 8250/60GB HD/2.4GHZ/768MB RAM/stock NVDIA MX420 I think? My computer always ran well, but now its slower then dung.
I have done adware, spybot,cr=p cleaner, msconfig (always done this so virtually nothing auto starts on startup), hijack this, defrag, a million different regcleaner type programs/cache/cookies/etc cleaner.
I have done these all 50+ times in regular AND safe mode. After all that, my computer will run good for a night then next day its slower then dung. I used Mcafee for a long time (free through comcast) but recently switched to avg and it seems a lil better, though my system is so slow it's hard to tell
I have done some reading and I think I need to just reformat. I have thousands of family photos and videos/music on my computer and need to take them off. Nothing elseSo a few questions for you tech guys.
1st, do I really need to reformat? (I'm fairly certain this is a yes)
2nd, Easiest way to get pics/video/music off the HD (I have a CD burner but last reformat 4 years ago it took forever to do this, I think I ended up burning about 10 of them and I haev 10X the stuff now. Should I get an external HD? thumb drive? I dunno anything about that stuff.
3rd, I have access to a Vista disc. With my system, should I install vista or absolutely not. XP has never done me wrong. I don't want to waste anymore money on RAM or other upgrades since my puter is 6 years old and Dimension Ram and parts are a rip off compared to new prices.
I play mostly light games (online poker, spades etc) and do a ton of WORD/Internet browsing/video editing. BUT I do occasionally like to play video games (Soldier of Fortune, Battlefield Vietnam, Diablo II etc).
What say you CNET.
Your advice will be much appreciated
P.S. I guess I struggle with the idea that these programs are supposed to remove the "bad stuff" but sometimes you "just have to reformat". If it got to the bad stuff, how is it that it will be any better once I "start over". Is is just after so many years you can't get to/see all the things bogging it down?