60 second freezes, eventual crash

I'm sorry, I don't know whether this is a software problem, hardware problem, or a combination of problems.

At least once every couple hours my computer will freeze for 60 seconds. The program I am using will be frozen, and I can switch to something else I'm running and it will work for a short time. Eventually my computer will be completely unresponsive until the point that whatever that was going on when the freeze began will all happen at once across the various programs. My computer has also been crashing (blue screen) frequently, though I haven't noticed this since the last windows updates I've installed. Compression on every browser is unstable. For example loading a website with frames will often display only 1 or 2 of the frames. I get compression/encoding errors where nothing on the page is displayed. Other times the html does not display formatted as a website at all and is shown as the source code. I may refresh a page as much as 12 times for it to display correctly, and sometimes a reboot is required because the browser (predominantly firefox) will let me close the window but the process itself (using task manager) will be completely unresponsive. I'm especially having difficulty where embedded flash videos are present, though this may be caused entirely by the encoding issues. For example, hulu requires the page to be refreshed several times before the stream works correctly, and g4tv will play 1 second of video and stop 80% of the time regardless of the number of refreshes. Each browser and flash video software are up to date.

I've run several different up to date virus scans to no avail.

Are these issues related, and is there anything I can do to fix them?

Edit: I'm sorry I forgot to mention, I'm running vista on a laptop

First check and make sure you have all the latest updates from MS, especially the important and recommended. The optional is for all other hardware and software on your system that you've installed, accept that as well. reboot system. (vista feature, in XP you had to go directly to the manufacturer) Then run any and all spyware, adware, malware software you have, run your AV scanner, run disk defrag software and registry defrag software then reboot system again. This will ensure that your system has no bugs and viruses and your hard disk and registry have been optimized. Once this is all completed then check to see if issue still remains.

Here is a list of some software if you do not have them all ready.

Auslogics disk defragger
Auslogics registry defragger
Advance system care 3
Adaware 2008 AE
Spybot search & destroy
Malwarebytes anti malware
IObit Security 360
Spyware doctor (from google pack off the homepage)
Windows defender

All of these are free and can be downloaded from cnet.com/downloads

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