It is said that you are never too old too learn, and that has been proven too me, yet again.
I bought a new HP Pavilion Elite desktop computer in February this year, set it up, installed an extra DVD-ROM drive along with some extra RAM, and then sat back to enjoy my new purchase.
From the start, it was plagued with long boot times of up to ten minutes, but I had a 2-year pick up and return warranty so I bit the bullet and sent it back for repair, not once, not twice, but three times in six months.
During that time the hard disk drive, the CPU, the motherboard and a TV tuner card were all replaced, two sets of recovery discs were sent to me, and a boot trace just resulted in a blue screen. Nothing seemed to cure the problem.
I lost count of how many times I wiped the hard drive and started again. Event Viewer, Task Manager and Processes threw up nothing untoward, until one day I decided to run a full diagnostics check, which revealed that the new DVD-ROM drive I had installed failed a couple of read-write checks.
I removed the suspect optical drive, restarted the computer and couldn't believe it when the time from boot up to desktop was less than a minute.
Just to be doubly sure, I put the DVD-ROM drive back and sure enough, on the second restart, the boot time had increased to eight minutes.
So there we have it, even brand new parts can be problematic, and I know one thing's for sure, if ever I get a similar problem, I'll be checking the hardware first.
So, my lesson learned is that it's not always drivers that cause problems, hardware can too, and not always in the way you would expect it to.