Firstly, thanks for any assistance that you can give, it's very much appreciated.
I have been having this problem off and on for a few months now. I get to my PC and the taskbar has dissapeared. It still shows that I'm connected to the internet, but I can't connect to anything as IE is frozen. I have to cloe down the programs and then restart via the task manager. I usually get the explorer.exe prompts as mentioned in other posts and I always get hanging as the system shuts down, so I und up switching off and on again.