Thanks for your response. It has been a long time since I have used the forums and I see they have changed quite a bit--including I haven't found the option that I always checked to send me an email when there is a reply. I don't know if those choices below are supposed to substitute as i'm not up on all that. I still don't see an option to receive an email notification of replies.
I didn't know about the XP NTFS corruption but I know that there is a reason for the shutdown process so it shuts down everything that is supposed to be shut down. I'm not sure what else to do though if its time to shut it down and I click shut off and instead it doesn't.
One thing that I have noticed when it doesn't shut down properly is that I will hear the fan cycling. So it will be quiet and then rev up and then quieter and then rev up, back and forth a bit. But the computer does seem to be staying nice and cool to the touch, since I blew it out (and saw dust flying, plus one of the main vents under the fan I guess had dust stuck in the opening which I blew off.
I'm not sure if it is still having the problem with the 100% or high percentage of use. I've had a bunch of things going on so ignored this for awhile, but finally had some time to post. I just opened Windows Task Manager since that shows the usage on those things. It is now running down low where it should be like 1-7% so far as I check. So maybe SP3 fixed whatever that was all about. It does seem to be running better in general with reasonable speed now. The system idle process was one that uses a high percentage--I guess that is what the # is. Previously Firefox and magicJack would also show high percentages, but it does seem to be staying down low where it should be so again, maybe SP3 fixed whatever it was.
The times when I have shut down manually have been when I clicked on shut down and it didn't shut down properly, but I was out of everything except the stuff that is just always open. Sometimes it like shut down but then it would show the screen where it was booting up again. Since it takes a couple min or more to boot up, I didn't want to go through all that as I did the first few times it happened. I use magicJack which increases the time for stuff to load, so it might be 4 min or so to load everything.
So the CPU usuage seems to be doing fine. For Mem usage Firetox is tops with over 120k followed by Eudora with over 54 k then winword, the magicJack, etc. It shows commit charge but I'm not even sure what that is. If it has to do with the battery, I normally use it as a desk top with it plugged in and using an external keyboard and mouse. I have 2 usb hubs. I got a new one a couple of years ago hoping to get rid of the old one but noticed that it said if I had any none usb2 devices plugged into it, it would slow them all down. I've got a 2nd D-Link DUB H-7 ordered since sometimes I have to unplug and replug devices to get them to be recognized (mostly my keyboard or mouse).
So, how do I tell if this is OS or other software or hardware? I remember there were some diagnostics that could be run but I don't remember how to access them and I remember they took awhile.
If it is hardware, would that likely be hard drive or something else? I know when the HD failed when it was pretty new, it first sort of did, but in the morning it was ok. They wanted to replace it then, but I didn't want to have to think about reinstalling everything. That was in Dec. after I got it the beginning of Oct. It finally abruptly failed in March right when I was trying to send an email to someone.
About a couple of years ago I got an intermittent LAN/Ethernet connection which I figured out off the bat (I mean it made a difference when I jiggled the connector, duh) but Dell had me run a bunch of diagnostics before agreeing that was what it was, but apparently the ethernet connector was soldered to the motherboard so they had to replace the motherboard. They had previously sent me a replacement CD/dvd drive which the guy installed (he also didn't know what he was doing, only being a hardware guy except that he updated the BIOS but didn't make sure the settings were right so it wasn't set up for it to boot from the C or CD drives.
So to summarize, how would I tell if it is hardware or some type of OS or software issue? (I had earlier gotten some warnings about updating drivers but maybe SP3 did that.
And if it is hardware, should I move this question or someone else move it to the hardware area? And i guess the fear is that the HD could possibly be getting shaky or something, although it seemed to go abruptly on this computer although my previous one it failed gradually but it had RAID which I read somewhere might make a difference in that, I'm not sure.
If it might be hardware, any precautions I should be taking besides my regular weekly backup using Retrospect Express incremental back up with restore points, backing up to my external HD? Or would that mean it is time to get a new computer?
Thanks for your help. I know more than a lot of people, but there is a lot I don't know, including a lot of the newer technology that younger people all seem to know but a lot of us older ones have just heard of. I do need to get ready though to switch from my current old basic cell phone and separate Palm PDA to a Windows mobile smart phone for business. So I'll have a fair amount of a learning curve to prepare first so I can be up and running right away, and then learn the newer things like mobile web and email.