Ok, this is a weird one. The three programs in the question start agonizingly slow. I can launch photoshop and minesweeper at the same time and photoshop loads first. I'm on a one year old machine, 64-bit, 8gb ram. And when I first got the machine, it wasn't so. They launched like they always did.
Deleting the shortcuts and redoing them
starting from the windows folder instead of shortcuts
running a/v, spybot and adaware
and that's just a few of the things I've tried.
Anyone got any ideas? This one is really making me crazy.