My brother-in-law's windows XP machine has died, with a STOP error of 7e (ooooo5).. Sometimes it also references aspi.sys. Sometimes it makes it to the 'windows' screen, then hangs there loading endlessly. I suspected a rootkit because of a virus warning before it crashed, but I downloaded a couple of Linux rescue CDs and they didn't work - spitting out a variety of error messages (couldn't mount fs, init cancelled, or just a stream of hex numbers). I've also tried safe mode with and without console - it just resets without comment. The computer is very dusty, so my next step is to open it up and reseat the components after giving them a bit of compressed air - any thoughts on other stuff I could try, or components that might be at fault? I guess the motherboard is the obvious place for a problem - plausible?
So it's come to this - I see no other option than to ask a "help me fix my PC" question. After some troubleshooting the STOP errors seem to have been resolved, XP now boots successfully but is excruciating slow to the point of being unusable. Details and specs below the fold. [more inside]