I've been steered to this forum by Nick at Spywarewarrior. After ruling out malware as a cause of my systems problems.
Basically, problems have been ongoing for over a month (can't isolate any new software installed at the time) - no new hardware added.
Think we've just identified that spybot's tea timer was causing conflicts so have removed that. Also, Stardock/Objectdock is now deleted due to weird behaviour.
This machine (new box - Acer travelmate 2420, 1.5ghz, 256mb ram (at least 70mb free at all times) 40gb HDD, struggles when using USB to connect to the net - very very slow. Same connection, different machine - uber fast!
If using wireless to connect - will stay online between 1min and 1hour - then disconnects and needs restart to get a signal.
Windows itself feels clunky (this was a brand new machine in June) - it has a lot of preinstalled acer stuff on it - (don't know what I need and don't so have left all active on machine)
Start up is when you see it struggle with getting itself together (mind you my old box took nearly an hour to boot and that issue has not been solved so this one stil seems good even though I know it should perform better)
Don't know what other information or logs I could provide to help troubleshoot - happy to provide any information that I can.
Hope someone can help