OK,this is kind of embarrassing for a first post, but here goes.
I had a rootkit, and this program Combofix deleted my bitcoin stuff in addition to the rootkit. Don't worry, I have a backup of wallet.dat with my 20 bitcoins. I have actually had this happen before and was able to restore the bitcoins.
But now, something got fucked up in bitcoin-qt 0.5.2-beta, though, so I deleted the entire %appdata%\Bitcoin directory in Windows XP. It was getting memory read errors. Who knows, maybe my 2006 Dell Dimension is really fucked now.
Now when I run the bitcoin wallet obviously it has to redownload the entire block chain, which is now over 1 gig. Well, after 3.5 hours it got to like 87%, and I was trying to play a poker game, but every minute or so, it just makes my computer freeze for 8-10 seconds at a time (this is enough to fuck up a poker game while you're in a big hand, and it almost cost me a big hand). EVERYTHING freezes.
I tried to set its affinity to one of my CPUS (i have a dual core athlon xp system), and set the priority to very low under Windows Task Manager, but this had no effect at all. The freezes still came. I tried closing down firefox, which usually have 5-6 windows open, and still no change. Tried closing other windows, no effect.
The bitcoin wallet was only having like 35 -45 connections at any one time.
Got so pissed off I killed bitcoin-qt.exe in task mgr - thinking it would pick up where it left off at 87%.
Guess what, it didn't. It's back at 0% and starting all over again. I'm about to go to bed, so I sure as hell hope it's finished when I wake up. My modus operandi is usually to close bitcoin and run it about every week, because I do a lot of online poker playing, and use Holdem Manager , and like to play 16 tables, and I need every meg I can get, even with 3 Gigs of RAM.
I can download a gig file way faster than 3.5 hours normally. This is getting ridiculous! Firefox can resume downloads, why can't bitcoin wallet?
I'm thinking the solution might be to download an older bitcoin wallet, have it download the block chain, and then upgrayyyde to the new bitcoin wallet.
EDIT: I downloaded bitcoin-0.5.1-beta and it's downloading the block chain hellafaster. Also there are freezes but they only last 2 or 3 seconds instead of 8 or 10. Bitcoin 0.5.2 acts like a piece of doo doo