Windows 7 laptop does not allow freezes/stalls

Hello, I have a laptop that is an HP Pavillion DV7t Quad Edition, Intel i7 with 8gb RAM.   My client was using it and it started some bad behavior in that if you login and start running an application (mozilla, outlook, excel, IE, notepad, windows explorer, anything), it will freeze and not allow do anything except it will allow you to press the windows key and the Start Menu will appear.  If you press ctrl-alt-del you can start the task manager and then it releases the applications and allows you to perform functions for a few minutes and then it freezes again.

Also, when initially starting up it will not allow any programs from the task bar to be launched, you must launch it from the start menu or a desktop icon.

Things I tried in order:
1. I put in a new Solid State Drive and installed windows, office 2010 and updated all windows updates.  I experienced the same thing with the new drive.
1.1 downloaded mozilla, java, adobe reader, adobe flash
2. Updated BIOS and all firmware on laptop
3. Ran SFC /scannow, everything looks good
4. Ran HP Diagnostics (no errors found)
4. removed one memory module and tested and then the other memory module and tested, same bad behavior.
5. Ran PC Doctor, no errors found

My client thinks things started happening after a windows update, not sure I buy it but will try anything.

Any thoughts to what might be an issue and how to debug?
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Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
If you've completely replaced all software, it's unlikely to be a software issue.  Freezing can be caused by overheating, but the odd think here is that the Windows key still works, and you can then work again for a bit.  You might want to run SpeedFan on it to log some temperatures, and THEN try blasting an air-duster through the cooling vents (when the laptop's off).  Compare the temps afterwards as well.  

I'd suggest fully ruling out a software issue by booting from a Knoppix DVD and running some apps from that for a bit.

You may want to run some malware scans - is a good place to start, just in case you're getting repeat infections.

Possible hardware causes would be an unstable power brick with fluctuating voltages causing the temporary lockups, or a possible motherboard fault.  Hard to tell without swapping out the items which is tricky without a similar model.  Does it happen more often when the laptop's on battery?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Agree that software is not likely an issue since you replaced the software AND put in a new drive.

So in addition to the cleaning suggested, test memory with memtest86.exe. A bad memory chip can cause this.
tucktechAuthor Commented:
Thanks John and Danch99, I found the problem.  The client had dropped their usb mouse and the mouse was causing the issue.  I was going to give the client a loner laptop and when I put their mouse in the loaner, it had the same problems.   This is a new one for me, never seen a mouse have such an effect.

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tucktechAuthor Commented:
I was able to resolve the problem after I posted it.  The experts who responded were providing good advice but I found the issue before we could get into resolving the problem via their suggestions.
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