I'm experiencing pretty much the same problem this user described: Windows 7 programs not working - Windows 7 - Windows 7
After the desktop is initialized, startup programs would seem to start loading at first, but then will all hang. Seemingly half the drivers
don't load, and when I try opening things like msconfig it wouldn't load that either. Strangely some programs, like chrome, still work, but overall if feels like the entire system went on lockdown. The start menus would also get unresponsive like that user described. If I go under task manager > processes, I see a lot fewer processes than normal.
I can still enter safe mode (everything in safe mode works fiine) and do a system restore - the time immediately following the system restore everything would work fine, but if I restart the system again the same problems would occur.
This just started happening this morning, and I have no idea what's causing it. I haven't changed anything, seems like it just started happening randomly. I've done a virus scan with MSE and everything came up clean.
Please, I really need to get the computer working soon, any help is appreciated.
Edit: In the process of doing more testing, this one time when I booted my computer up, instead of booting into Windows, it displayed a series of colors that filled the screen (blue,green,red,etc.) then shut off. The next time I pressed the power button everything booted normally. Weird.
Edit2: I think I've narrowed down on the culprit. After restoring to the earlier restore point, (9/14 in this case), everything would be fine. I can do anything I want, restart, whatever, and no problems arise. However, after a while (after the restore), windows would put a new system restore point in there:
Time: 9/17/2013 <Insert time here>
Description: Windows Update
Type: Critical Update
So this suggests that this 9/17 update broke something in my system. Will do more testing.
Edit3: Ok, I'm pretty sure it's the 9/17 update... but I can't really figure out what part of it is causing the problem. After the update, I can't check from the regular boot (as no programs will run) and I can't check from safe mode (win update is disabled in safe mode)... And if I system restore and then set windows update so that it doesn't automatically download and install updates, it still creates the restore point (and then screw up my system) for some reason.
Edit 4: I'm pretty sure it's a stealth update of some sort... no matter which restore point to restore to, and whether or not I turn off automatic updating, the restore point still gets made which means some kind of update is being applied. Unfortunately I think the update is the thing screwing up my computer.