Something is preventing Windows 7 Home Premium from completing some basic tasks.
I can't open the Networking and Sharing center, and the network icon in the system tray is frozen with the blue "loading" circle. The internet connection works fine; I'm using it to type this question.
I can't open msconfig.
I can't turn on real-time protection in Microsoft Security Essentials.
Programs which normally load on startup no longer appear in my system tray, for example my touchpad software.
If I reboot in safe mode with networking then all but the last of the above work fine. While in safe mode I ran a full scan with Microsoft Security Essentials and didn't find anything. I then opened up msconfig and unchecked the box titled "Load startup items" under selective startup in the General tab and restarted without safe mode - the problem persisted. Back in safe mode I further unchecked the box "Load system services" in the same place and restarted without safe mode and I could finally access the Networking and Sharing Center, open msconfig, and turn on real-time protection in MSE.
At this point I suspect some service is causing a problem and needs to be disabled (permanently). However there are a huge number of services in the list in msconfig and going through them one-by-one doesn't sound very appealing. Is there a better way I can find the culprit? Is there some kind of log I can generate on startup to show where things get hung up?
Any other ideas for what could be happening or things I could try in order to narrow down the problem are welcome.