|Is your ZoneAlarm Suite up to date? Try to disable ZA and enable the Windows firewall.|
So happens that just last night I was working on my sister's laptop. Both ZA and Windows firewall were activated. ZA kept throwing out a message that it was out of date. The computer was not usable.
I disabled ZA in the task manager and the computer instantly ran much faster.
Then I ran CCleaner, which took forever, due to the large amount of temp files it found. After that the laptop ran like it should. After a reboot ZA was enabled again and the computer took at least 5 minutes to boot. I then uninstalled ZA and enabled the Windows firewall.
Perhaps you inadvertently have a third firewall running. Do you use Spybot S&D? The real time monitor may be the problem.
Have you entered the task manager to see first of all how many processes are running at start up? Next, see if any process is using a large percentage of CPU cycles. System idle should be at the high 90s at idle. If you have something drawing more than a couple of percent, try disabling it in the task manager. It will return on a reboot. You will need to take further action to permanently remove something.
Many programs install unnecessary crap. Checking for program updates at start up for instance. Or running some sort of check at start up.
There are not too many programs that you need to have running at start up.
Your first post probably is on the right track. Programs running at start up.