OK folks, Share time... These kinds of problems can make you insane!
Nordland,, take a deep breath and shake your "Willy's" off. Believe me, when you finally crack this nut, it'll be the best feeling ever, well maybe not ever....
I 've been doing this stuff for a long time "74" and I still feel like rookie some days.
I'm just going to through some key concerns out here and Flo and Seamen Pulsars, please chime in and or fire back.
* Acronis stuff, Monitor for True Image Bkup Explorer and the Acronis Scheduler Helper and assistant Helper Bee.... Man, at least turn those suckers off for a little while. Also I question (Nordland) if he is using their online backup service,,, if so, they like to keep shaking each others hand a lot.
* This one goes back for a long time, no matter if it was Nero or Rox in their heads software.... AND I'm sure some get away with it.
BUT, if you have 2 CD or DVD drives, it's a bad policy to have them both on the same controller leg. So if there are, split them out. One on the primary N the other on the secondary.
* And yes, like nssnpulsars said, Google Tool Bar Notifier = GONE! forever Man. Hell you might as well install Google Earth and warm your hands against the glow of your Hard Drive light.
* What with all of the Schedulers, Reminder's,Timers, Remeberer's.... If you are going embrace that stuff, then stay intimate with them by routinely checking their schedules, even Symantec, to make sure their not getting out of hand and wanting to go potty every 3 minutes!
* Keep an eye on your Hard drive light... Is it getting the hell kicked out it??? Too much Bad I/O=MUCH BAD.
*I've switched from AVAST to Avira last winter and it was good. The best heuristic analyzer's on the market and a smaller foot print.
* Lastly, approx. 2.5 Gazillion IT people have finally had it with Adobe. that group has lost it's way and those of us that are trying to maintain a controlled level of configurations at the client level has finally hit wits end.... Seems like Adobe has attention starved and is never happy with the it looks in mirror. Don't believe me? check out the reviews Adobe's own site. THEN consider one I've found, Foxit Reader. It's still free, has a much smaller foot print and will blow Adobe away. Most importantly it's happy how it looks and won't be bugging you to ALWAYS RUN to the powder room for updates.
I counted at least 4 occurrences of the Adobe infestation.
I offer these for consideration in addition to the work offered up by Flo and nssnpulsars. Keep your Stick on the Ice.