Finally, after a little prodding into the CPU of my HP desktop and a quick check at Task Manager, I found the reason why my family PC was running so slowly. Guess what, I found that the DDR2 ram slot was loose!
So, instead of running on 768 MB ram, it was all the while running of a pathetic 256 MB ram for the past few weeks. I have two ram slots, one with the default 256 MB, and another one with an extra 512 MB I inserted by myself. The system didn’t register that second 512 MB ram slot, and all it needed was a bit of poking and twiddling. Now my system is running at an acceptable speed again.
Surviving on just 256 MB ram, I did some startup and shutdown tests with a stopwatch. Now this may seem exaggerated, but it isn’t, I promise. On 256 MB ram, startup took a spectacular 15 MINUTES!!!!!! (Including some third party apps like sidebar and Yahoo widgets.) Shutdown took an amazing 3 MINUTES!
Now with 768 MB ram, startup is roughly 5 minutes, thankfully. See the wonders of an extra 512 MB ram! Finally, I can Photoshop in peace again without waiting forever to get things done.