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More RAM is always good. How much does your friend have?
So too is a disk cleanup, a scan for spyware and adware (I recommend Malwarebytes--their free scanner is excellent), and a defrag--in that order, defrags are best run after the junk in removed.
If he has a bunch of toolbars installed to his browser(s), he should remove them in Add/Remove programs. They are a waste of time, resources, and privacy.
Also, click start-->run and enter "msconfig" in the run dialog; under the msconfig "startup" tab, disable all those add-on "quick start" icons that program installations add to the systray--the milliseconds they save aren't worth resources they eat--and remove anything not essential from the Startup folder on the menu.
Distribution: UBUNTU 5.10 since Jul-18,2006 on Intel 820 DC
More RAM unfortunately doesn't get to the cause of the problem, which is that it's slow (presumably now slower than earlier). I second all Frankbell's suggestions and would like to add a delete specifically of the temp folder - if not taken care of by the disk cleanup tool used.
Start --> Run --> %temp%. n Delete all files earlier than the last boot time.