I've been having an issue lately with Vista 64-bit Home Premium. Sometimes, definitely at least half of the time, when I am opening a new program, or switching between two programs, windows just hangs up for an indeterminate amount of time. To be more specific, the hang-up is a period of limited response; the mouse moves around just fine, and it even changes to the resize cursor when at the border of the active window, or the finger cursor if you're hovering over a hyperlink, but all else is unresponsive. I cant click anything, keyboard does nothing. The only thing that does work is Ctrl+Alt+Delete. It takes me to the appropriate screen and gives me options to log out, switch users, and a few other things, including task manager. Those options are all responsive. When I click Task Manager, the screen goes black, except for the cursor, and continues the long pause (sometimes lasts up to 3 minutes).
Once the computer finally comes back to life, all keyboard strokes and mouse clicks that I made since it locked up are executed, and the task manager pops up.
During the hangup there is no hard drive activity and CPU usage seems to be normal, according to the temperature (there is no increase).
Is it my memory? Hard disk? Processor? Video card? Software? I'm stumped.
Thank you in advance for your help.