I have been in IT for 10+ years and have done desktop/server support, programming, DBA, etc. I have come across an issue on my personal laptop that has stumped me. This started recently in the past month. It was around the time, I did a few windows updates and a FF update. So I have been unable to pinpoint what caused it.
My Problem -
All of my browsers started to freeze upon loading a new page (even non flash webpages, ie google.com) They would freeze for 5-10 minutes. I noticed if I disabled the flash plugin in FF, then FF acted normally. I uninstalled the flash activex module, and IE started to work properly again as well. I did a lot of testing by removing flash and all of my adobe components (CS4) and acrobat. Anything flash related I removed completely, I then used a tool provided by adobe to remove any leftover remnants of adobe (registry entries, folders, etc). I tried many different versions of FF, Opera, Safari and Chrome and many different versions of the flash player (9-current). They all acted the same with flash installed, if I uninstalled flash, all the browsers worked perfectly fine.
I finally gave in and reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 32bit. I am running into the same issues again.
I was originally running Windows 7 x64, but am now at Windows 7 32bit.
Some things to note, my work laptop is Windows 7, and it works perfectly fine, as does my wife's personal and work laptops.
If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. I am currently using the latest version of FF and Flash, and have not run any Windows updates yet (pre sp1 Windows 7 DVD).