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Problem with opening programs

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I'm a nooB here, and am unsure of how to word this, so I hope it is intelligible.
I have battled with spyware and adware before, but have this problem I can't resolve. I've tried searching, but it's hard to pinpoint my problem to a few words.

OK, running XP, I boot up, connect to the net, and open Microsoft Office Outlook. I have a hotmail account in there, aswell as my regular account. After 20 seconds or so, it scans for new email, but right as it does so, it freezes.

I click end program, and it ends.

Now, when I click on any other program, it does nothing. I try a few more, and after a minute or two of nothing, all of those programs open up all at once.

Can anybody help me?
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check your task manager before and after running outlook...then run it after ending the program and then again as you are waiting for all of the other programs to open. pay particular attention to the memory usage of processes and see which is using the most at any given time...i'm pretty new at this stuff but that might help you see what's going on...
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