I feel your pain. I am having the exact same issue. For me, the problem started after I downloaded an IP masker called "Mask Surf Standard." The IP masker worked great for its purpose, but gmail has been messed up for me ever since. [*note* I did update my crappy antivirus software (the shield antivirus)- so it may be that as well, but I am 99.9% sure it was the ip masker program.]
Here is the deal. I checked out my active x controls and found the following two missing: Microsoft ActiveX Plugin; RECIP.RecipCtl.1. I think the software was playing with my registry without warning me.
The first missing activex control means that I cannot use Microsoft update. I also cannot use gmail regularly (it just loads to the basic html page), which I assume is tied to the second control. I tried deleting both controls, but this did not help. Microsoft update reinstalled the control, but the website still freezes up on the "checking for updates" page.
I'm a smart [bleep], so I turned off system restore. I have a registry backup and might try using that soon, though God only knows what I have installed on my computer since the last registry backup (i.e., I don't want to trade one problem for another). I also just restored my system three weeks ago, and really really really don't want to go through that hassle again.
Here is a support page I created with more details on the problem, and several *failed* attempted fixes, on gmail:http://groups.google...e581b4af0f41188
I would greatly appreciate any help with this. I absolutely hate it when I get a problem on my computer that I can't fix;)
 hehe. i just realized the last post date was 2 years ago. c'est la vie.
Edited by thedannimonster, 22 April 2007 - 10:38 PM.