WOW SP3 was the culprit!
Here are several links to read and decide whether to use SP3 or not. I personally created my own SP3 cd from an SP3 iso file and installed it on my systems. I have not encountered any problems .(knock on wood)
New and Enhanced Functionality in SP3:Networking
"Black Hole" Router Detection:
Now, this detection is on by default and is for detecting routers that are silently discarding packets. This feature is also available in Vista
NAP Network Access Protection:
Policy enforcement that protects networks. It is now included Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows XP SP3. Available in RTM (release to manufacturers) version of Vista
Descriptive Security Options User Interface:
More descriptive text, hopefully this will provide better explanations of options.
Enhanced Security for Admin. And Service policy entries:
All new policy is present by default and after authentication cannot be removed.
Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module:
A new Kernel module that fixes a known problem with Microsoft's cryptographic application.
Windows Product Activation:
Users can now complete the operating system installation without providing a product key. The keyless install option will allow installs of XP SP3 to proceed without using a product key for 30 days. This option is also available for Vista SP1 will not update your Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7. But it will update either your IE 6 or your IE7. From what I've been able to tell so far, the same is true of Windows Media Player. The update does not install the current Media Player 11 as a part of the fixes or additions.
Per PC World:
"Since SP3 was supposed to be mostly a bug-fix/patch consolidation release, the unexpected speed boost comes as a nice bonus," Barth said. "In fact, XP SP3 is shaping up to be a 'must-have' update for the majority of users who are still running Redmond
's not-so-latest and greatest desktop OS."
Click on this link or copy and paste the complete link into your browser.
If I could be of further assistance, let me know. If this helps or solves the issue, please rate it.