so I will leave all the heavy stuff to others, but seeing this is a SATA drive I am given to understand that you need to load the SATA drivers from a floppy disk during the Windows install process.
Did you do that? If not, Googling XP how to install SATA drives may help.
If you have already done that, then I must pass.
I recently built a Windows XP sp3 installation on a new Dell Optiplex 760. After it was deployed to the user, it started taking 15 minutes to be usable at boot up. Anytime you accessed Windows Explorer, it dogged out again: "unresponsive" except that Ctrl+alt+del immediately opens and CPU usage is zero.
This happened logged on as domain admin, local admin, domain user. No problem in SafeMode.
I assumed that the Windows installation got corrupted. Rebuilt installation from scratch with a VLA Windows CD instead of the Dell CD. Took my time, giving the machine many extra reboots and plenty of time to mess up before giving it back to the user.
When the computers was almost ready, it messed up again: very slow to boot to usable state, only "usable" in safe mode. Disconnected the DVD drive since it showed up in event log as removed "without uninstalling" about the time problems started. Uninstalled graphics card and related software since the software "ATI Command Control Center" had errors loading about the same time. No change.
Reseated memory, CPU, unplugged SATA cables, power cables repugged same. Ran Dell Diagnostics, no errors. Thought 2 different installations form different Windows CD's. "Must be hardware!" Dell agreed to replace computer, waiting for its arrival.
PLOT THICKENS! Rebuilt from scratch a 1 year old Dell Optiplex 755.
Took my time, many reboots. All seemed well. When I gave the computer to the user, it demonstarted the very same probelms that the new machine did: unresponsive when accessing Windows Explorer, slow to boot to usable state.
These computers have WinXP sp3, fully patched to March 30. .Net 1.1, 2.0, 3.5. Symantec 10.1. No spyware discovered by Spybot S&D.
Both ran fine for 3 days, then plop!
Any suggestions? Has anyone seen a similar problem?