Well since I have been forced back to XP after the hard drive I had been using with Vista on it failed (Thanks a lot Seagate...) I've been forced to deal with the problems that caused my switch in the first place. For one thing, the computer just gives me 100% random BSODs. Yes I know they're not truly random, but I'll put it this way - one time I had a BSOD come out of no where when I clicked a link in my web browser, one time one came up when I had just closed a folder on my desktop, they rarely if ever come when I'm doing something significant and sometimes will come with seemingly no trigger - I haven't done anything and it just crashes. There is no failure of a .dll or anything, only that stupid code line that's like 30 numbers long that I can't capture before it disappears. Someone had suggested a bad memory module before - but in 6 months using Vista 64 bit which uses ALL of my 4 GB of ram I never had a single BSOD or any other crashes. So if it's defective memory, how is XP 32 bit crashing and Vista 64 bit doesn't? I don't think it is...
Secondly, I don't know what it is but dammit do all the things I install on this hard drive end up being way larger than they originally claim they will be. I'm a gamer so it's mostly games taking up space, but I have one that I just installed via Steam that said it would be 2,000 Mb. I'll be damned, I look at the folder it just put it in - 8 GB. WTF!? All these game files are supposed to be one size and end up being WAY larger. Why!? I just ran a virus scan the other day and turned up nada. It's no wonder my 320 GB drive is extremely full since I am forced to delete applications to free room to install anything else. I had more applications installed with the same program in Vista and the size of installed files seemed more correctly proportional. Seriously, this is driving me nuts because it won't stop telling me to clear up disk space and it even somehow filled the drive up so much so that I could not start an application (Yeah, I wasn't aware an INSTALLED application couldn't run if you didn't have ENOUGH free space...stupidest thing I've ever heard).
This thing keeps crashing and acting so stupid on me, I'm afraid it'll wipe itself clean and then I'll have lost ALL of my data for good. I run spyware checks and use background scanning anti-virus software plus a firewall, why is it doing this? I even use a registry cleaner (CCleaner) regularly. I would defrag but XP being the lovely thing it is broke that feature (Along with System Restore - hey it used to work but oh well...). Suggestions to fix these annoying stability problems? I feel like you all are probably going to say format and clean install - which seems about right, I've had XP installed for too long so it can't keep working smoothly without inherently acting stupid and mandating a format or something (Almost as if Microsoft said "Hey, you've been using the OS for too long! *deletes random files to decrease stability* There ya go, now format dammit!") - although this is not an option at the moment as I need to RMA my other hard drive and this is now the only drive in my machine.
You don't think that it's your RAM. Have you run a thorough test of your memory? Sometimes that tells you more than thinking can.
As for applications not running if you are out of disk space - what if they need to create temporary files, as many applications do?
I must say that the behaviour that you describe is symptomatic of malware of some sort. Have you done a thourough scan, in safe mode, or are you just relying upon the fact that you have anit-virus software installed? Defrag is broken, System Restore is broken, .... Sounds like your system is seriously screwed. Format the disk and reinstall the XP (or Vista) from scratch; it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. (You were right to guess that we would say that.) Somehow you have allowed your system to become so corrupted that it cannot function properly. Probably not fair to blame Microsoft for this as millions of people manage to keep their systems running just fine.
I ran Memtest awhile back but the program itself was acting strange and I had to restart it two times for it to properly scan. When it finally worked right it started doing something on one memory module but the program never stopped until I manually rebooted, so I don't know if that meant the program was trying to tell me there was a problem with the memory or if it had crashed or something.
I suppose I hadn't thought of temporary files, but I can't quite see why the application in question would need to create temp files to open. But that must be what it's doing since it wouldn't open when it was too full.
I did not scan in safe mode, but I did indeed do a scan of my software. I point out that I always run it in the background so it's not like I only turn it on to do scans - I always have it on AND I do scans. How is it me that has allowed it to corrupt? I run Spybot regularly to delete spyware and such, I use firewalls, I did defrags and stuff when it used to work (It just stopped working one time I went to use it), used resident anti-virus protection (Which I know works as it has broken the connection off of a few websites that tried to put a virus in my machine). How is this my fault when I do all that? Kind of like saying it's someone's fault their car's engine blows up after they meticulously maintain it from the first day they bought the car, I mean when used properly as such it would seem to indicate some blame need be placed on the maker for an inferior product. I just don't understand why XP corrupts itself over time, as it has happened not only to me but other people whom I help with their computers (And no, those people don't do virus scans or spyware scans like I tell them, but they at least use resident protection).
Well, I've worked in PC support in a large corporation where we had thousands of computers running XP without this sort of problem. Generally problems with XP are caused by faulty hardware or user installed third-party applications (genuine or malevolent).
The fact is that your system isn't working properly, so the pragmatic approach would be to wipe it and start over. If you're not prepared to do that then fine - but don't expect an easy resolution of your problem.
If you really think that Microsoft software is poor, don't buy it. There are plenty of alternatives.
I bought the nicest hardware I could buy, I'd rate this as a lower high end gaming machine (if that makes sense - top tier but perhaps at the bottom of the top tier). Nothing in here is cheap junk which I cannot say for my friends who have motherboards that were not much more than entry level models and Pentium D processors (I have a Core 2 Duo E8400). I won't rule out another program doing it, but whatever it is it must be something I really need to use as I apparently reinstall it each time and it ends up doing the same thing.
I know that's the surefire solution, I just didn't know if there was possibly an interim solution or something I could do to improve how it runs - barring the inability at the moment to do a format. I don't necessarily think Microsoft software poor, although it certainly seems quirky and finnicky at times. I hate how my XP bootups have gone from lightning fast to creepingly slow over time. As a gamer there is no alternative anyway, gaming on a Mac is LOL and gaming in Linux while possible to an extent would be limited and require more technical know how of script and coding than I possess. Windows is the only option that has a fairly consistent compatibility with multiple programs (including the ones I already own), I just wish I didn't have to keep formatting and re-installing the bloody thing.