Also you might want to check the eventviewer ( START RUN type eventvwr) under applications for any red crosses and post those events here. Looking at the symptoms I start with Java. Did you clean out the cache?
Your version of Java might be outdated and could need updating to take advantage of fixes that have eliminated security vulnerabilities.
* Download the latest version of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6.0
* Scroll down to where it says "Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6
* Click the "Download" button to the right.
* Check the box that says: "Accept License Agreement".
* The page will refresh.
* Click on the link to download Windows Offline Installation, Multi-language and save to your desktop.
* Close any programs you may have running - especially your web browser.
* Go to Start > Control Panel double-click on Add/Remove programs and remove all older versions of Java.
* Check any item with Java Runtime Environment (JRE or J2SE) in the name.
- Examples of older versions in Add or Remove Programs:
o Java 2 Runtime Environment, SE v1.4.2
o J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0
o J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 6
* Click the Remove or Change/Remove button.
* Repeat as many times as necessary to remove each Java versions.
* Reboot your computer once all Java components are removed.
* Then from your desktop double-click on jre-1_6_0_10-windows-i586-p.exe to install the newest version.