Drop down / pick list freezes in IE, and MSOffice

Every time i try to use the drop down box/picklist whether i am opening a file in an MS Office application, or i am in Internet explorer, the application freezes, and eventually stops responding. i have been into the startup configuration to shut down unneeded processes, i have deleted temporary files, nothing seems to work. it seems to effect everything with a drop-down menu.

i am running Windows XP sp2 Media Center Edition.
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mhjdowdAuthor Commented:
found out that--whatever it is--it is solved by going into the task manager and ending the process "verclsid.exe." i saw on a previous exchange that this was associated with identifying new websites or something, but i just skimmed through the post. apparently, it creates some id with every picklist/dropdown; including windows explorer, and any MSOffice application.

1 - is the id'ing necessary? and
2 - can i disable it without destroying my life?
It's a conflict between a recent Windows Update and HP printer or scanner software.

See http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=918165 for explanation and fix

Or do this (which is a quick way of doing what MS suggest):
Copy the following to the clipboard (it's all one line even if wrapped in your browser - paste into notepad and remove line breaks if necessary, and copy again)
Click Start, run
Paste into the dialogue box and hit return.

==Copy below here==
REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Cached" /v "{A4DF5659-0801-4A60-9607-1C48695EFDA9} {000214E6-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} 0x401" /t REG_DWORD /d 1
=Copy above here==

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