Try turning off all programs in the msconfig>Startup list which absolutely do not have to start up with Windows - AV and gadgets is all I use. Startup Programs - Change
All others are freeloaders on your startup time, RAM and CPU, and can spy on you.
It also gives them the ability to conflict more with other programs if they are running all the time in the background.
If they need to update themselves, they'll let you know when you use them. They don't need to hold a phone line open to home.