Hoping the pros here can help me with this weird problem.

For a while now, whenever I restart or boot up, while the main boot up goes relatively quickly, it takes a long, LONG time before any of the program/app icons appear on the taskbar. We're talking at least 5 minutes!

Also, I've noticed that when I try to access any of the options available when I right-click the Start button (command prompt, disk management, etc), none of them work. I can access these functions in other ways, but not by way of the Start button.

I've tried to have Microsoft tech support help me. So far I've reinstalled Windows twice (in-place and USB drive) and created a new user account. None of these things have fixed the problems.

One thing I am trying to avoid is a clean reinstallation. I have several programs that I've either lost the original installation CD/DVD or they've gotten damaged. So if I did a clean installation, I would lose those programs.

Any ideas here? I would be VERY appreciative of any and all constructive help!