Start by entering the board bios and be sure the "fast boot" option is enabled; then use the windows disk clean program and check off all the categories. Then check your drive with anti-virus software. I use microsoft malware; spybot is free. When you're done, use cpuid to check your ram specs and see how much is being recognized. If you're still not satisfied, then a format will give you the best results, but be sure to have all your original device drivers handy; xp needs the motherboard cd or oem drivers installed separately. Vista or 7 may find all the devices without using a separate cd.