Oh yes, my desktop runs like a champ, I'm on it now. I like your suggestion that some BIOS setting may be the problem here, but I'm drawing a blank trying to guess which setting might be wrong.
Here is the whole sad story: I only booted with Hiren's BootCD to try it out before sending a copy to a friend who's been hit with a rootkit, she asked me to type out a "for dummies" tutorial for her, telling her every single step and every last scroll and keystroke of what she should do. I was able to access all the utilities on Hiren's BootCD when I ran it in my HP laptop, but I had tried it in my desktop first and "Mini Windows XP" does not recognize any SATA drive - so no anti-malware utilities can be used.
So here's something I tried, I went to Biostar's website and downloaded the Serial ATA AHCI drivers from here:http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/driver.php?S_ID=315
and put them on a floppy and loaded them at the F6 option, but Hiren's Mini Windows XP still does not see my hard drive or my sata DVD drive, it only sees the ramdrive and the A drive. Weird!