My thought involves program conflicts.
The newness of your using some of them brings it to mind,
more than anything.
Some of these programs I began using just a couple weeks ago after experiencing a virus problem.
It depends on how you have them all configured,
but the potential exists for conflicts between some of the "resident protection" features,
in particular, of these applications:
SpyBot-S&D Version 1, 4, 0, 3 [spybot SD Resident 'tea-timer']
Microsoft Anti-spyware BETA [real-time protection]
and possibly features of these might be involved:
AOL Spy Zapper
XoftSpy Application Version 4, 21, 0, 0
Norton SystemWorks 2005
When I log off, I get several End Program windows such as ccApp, #3224, #3564, #3936, gcasServ.exe, waol.exe, that I have to click end program on
ccApp = Norton
gcasServ.exe = MSAS Beta
waol.exe = AOL user interface which allows you to logon to the AOL network, and the Internet.
#3224, #3564, #3936 = (?) (?) (?)
Factor in the potential for system slowdown if/when all auto-update at individual schedule-times
and it is quite possible something is consistantly freezing vital OS system operation.
Or did once, and the remaining "fallout" is the culprit.
I think Gateway PC's do have an added-on communication feature,
relative to possible updates & Microsoft updates, too.
I think you are probably aware of this and deal with it,
but the new applications added might have inadvertanty triggered something. Which provides you with basic anti-virus protection?
Conflict troubleshooting generally calls for systematic disabling and/or uninstalling of
features, or the programs themselves, one at a time ... testing after each modification.
I also think it's a good practice to clean all of these folders:
Temporary Internet Files
Some of these applications produce log files that can build up, too.
The crashs & forced shutdowns do to.
I then have to turn off the computer with the on/off button and restart it.
Two things I'd be checking are:
Event Logs ... Application, Security & System for actual error codes each time this stuff happens.
Registry ... at least running a couple independent Registry check/repair programs
Norton SystemWorks offers it's reg cleaning feature (at least 2002 did, I used it)
Clues can be obtained observing what is being targeted.
I got into the habit of running:
Ccleaner (free) the issues tab
JV 16 Power Tools v1.3 (free) registry tool > tools > registry cleaner
not necessarily to actually effect changes, but more to offer glimpses of what each reveal.
Keep at it ... something is bound to come of careful, methodic analysis.
At this point, subtractions will likely help more than additions.