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What are the first steps for diagnosing a slow machine?

So I received this HP Desktop at work, running WindowsXP SP3, specs are good enough for XP, with a good video card:
video: radeon HD 4550
CPU: E8500 3.2Ghz

I don't have admin privs on this machine.

The problem is ever since I got it, it's running intermittently slow. It'd run fine for about 10-30 seconds, then everything freeze for 3-5 seconds, then run fine again for another 10-30 seconds and it goes on like this forever. This happens no matter what I do, even when I don't open anything. The CPU usage during the whole time would stay below 5% and no noticeable process is using any CPU. I have the following programs staying in memory:
* Symantec endpoint protection (corporate AV software, I can't disable due to privs)
* Adobe application updater
* Privacy Icon Client from intel (some corporate software)

Any ideas what could be causing this?

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marked as duplicate by studiohack Apr 14 '11 at 17:19

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

Try deleting the temporary files using Disk CleanUp.
Look for any suspicious process in the Task Manager (It may be a virus).
Then find information about that process from exelib

It may also be a hardware problem.
But first make sure its not a virus.

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