For the past couple of weeks, I've been having trouble launching a couple of programs: Notepad++ and VideoLan's VLC Media Player. Typically, I use the context menus when selecting a text file, and use "Edit with Notepad++", or in the case of VLC, just double click the video file. Both programs exhibit the same behavior: Task Manager shows the program, using alt-tab shows the program as well, but it takes 20-30 seconds to actually launch the program and open the file. With Notepad++, using alt-tab, the title found is "Dialog". Once the programs visible in the UI, opening new files takes perceptibly zero time. Other programs (browsers, batch files, applications) don't exhibit this behavior; it appears to just be these two seemingly unrelated programs. Windows Explorer will sometimes exhibit this behavior during create a New Folder dialog.
HijackThis doesn't show anything malicious, and I've took it upon myself and attempted to run a legitimate copy of ComboFix, but it never completes, with the laptop no longer responding at all during the scanning process.
Any ideas on how to proceed? Thanks in advance!
When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.