I thought I'd run this problem past my E! peeps before I shelled out cash for a fix. I'm no noob with computers; I'm 44 and have been programming since I was ten on a Radio Shack TRS-80. I'm so-so with software and hardware, however. I have an Acer Aspire 5560G with 4g RAM running Win7 64bit.
It began with LOTRO freezing at the character selection screen. Figuring it was an upgrade problem, I hit Alt+Tab, but that took a full four minutes to get back to the desktop, whereas it normally takes 2-4 seconds for the graphics cards to switch from high-quality to standard. When it finally did switch back, opening up task manager just to dropkick LOTRO took minutes, too, then when it opened, it took another few minutes to go from the applications tab to the processes tab...and so on. I could still use Firefox normally, or play music through media player, so I figured it was a video card thing--and I updated my radeon cards and put the newest Catalyst on as well to do it. No fix. Rebooted. Left for a few hours. Came back, and now when I clicked on Firefox it was taking so long to start it was half an hour before it was opened. Wondered if it could be badcaps--checked it, no problem. Rebooted, things were even worse. Now I couldn't open My Computer without that hanging for ten minutes before it opened. My HDD was clear enough--450 gigs clear on a 500 gig drive.
I went to safe mode. Had reasonably better results there. Decided I needed to run a virus scan, and started with a quick scan (avast! free version). The quick scan lagged so bad it would have taken me six weeks to finish it. WTF? In safe mode?
Okay, I thought, maybe the HDD is going...did a performance scan on my S.M.A.R.T. drive, and it was healthy in all three partitions. Hmph. Enough power from the power supply? No problem there, either. Checked the drivers for everything I could, and everything was functioning normally. Rebooted into safe mode and now things like My Computer were slow to open in that, too. Progression in the problem, but no clue as to why. Left it on overnight just to be sure whatever I'd tried to start would have time to actually start. ^%@&%*!!!
To add confusion, I woke up this morning with windows saying it had rebooted and installed an update, and things were just worse. Now almost anything I clicked was taking either long to open and run, or would take so long the computer might as well have been hung up.
ATM I'm on Firefox, which is running normally after it takes its sweet time to open. Can't do anything else outside of safe mode without Windows slowing to less than a glacial pace after I click on anything executable.
I'm ready to run a recovery on my laptop and roll back to a more functioning setup. However, if there is a simpler fix, I want to do that. Could it be a virus? Some driver I've missed? Is there a BIOS setting I need to change, or upgrade the BIOS itself?