Didn't work either. "Last known good" bluescreens too.
Might be a bad install somehow, but that would make it the 3rd one in 3 attempts.
EDIT : I gave up and installed Vista. Now I can open "computer" or IE as soon as I see the desktop. No hesitation whatsoever. the rest of the PC-using experience is more than twice as fast too.
I'm still curious about the problem tho. I don't see what I could have done wrong. Maybe I should go for dualboot, or set up a Win7 in Virtualbox to see how that responds.
EDIT 2 : Speedgamer,
Once more regarding CF : I did a bit of checking, and my card has it disabled during normal use. Whenever I launch a game that supports CF, the card goes into CF mode. Drivers are irrelevant here, that behaviour is hardwired into the card itself. So that was not the reason behind my issues