With everything running painfully slow, Dorslo discovered the one process that was to blame. The Answer Line forum suggested what to do.
When Windows slows down to an unbearable crawl, there's a good possibility that one particular process is at fault--sometimes taking close to 100-percent of the CPU's capabilities. In such a case, it's best to kill the process.
A process is a program or an independent piece of a program. As I write this, I have nine applications, but 81 processes, running on my computer.
And if the problem keeps occurring, it's best to find out what that process is about and stop it from loading altogether.
To check your processes, right-click the taskbar and select Start Task Manager. Click the Processes tab, then the CPU column heading. That will put the culprit at the top of the list.
To kill a process, select it and click End Process. In the resulting, this-is-really-scary dialog box, click End Process again. Some program may close down or freeze up, but you'll have your computer back.
If the problem keeps reoccurring, you need to learn more about the process. Visit RunScanner or ProcessLibrary to see if they can help you learn more about it. Don't use the sites' options for scanning your drive; just enter the process' name into the Search field.
Once you've identified what is launching the resource hog, check to see i f there's an update or bug fix that addresses the problem. If there isn't, consider switching to a competitor.
My thanks to Flashorn for his contributions to the original forum discussion.