Alright, so I woke up today to see my laptop had restarted after an automatic Windows 7 critical update. Now Windows Explorer is very slow to load (like 10+ minutes until it becomes stable enough to float over icons on the toolbar and see them highlighted), and it is constantly crashing and restarting, or is frozen. Also applications take an insane amount of time to load. At one point, after a fresh restart, it took Chrome over 15 minutes after clicking on the icon. I have not installed anything new, minus the windows update. Once loaded they work a little better, but are often freezing or take a long time to accomplish simple tasks (loading a website on Chrome, for example). In normal mode I ran a full Malwarebytes scan and a quick Microsoft Security Essentials scan, neither found anything. In safe mode, I successfully restored the system to two days (and two critical updates) ago. None of this has helped. CPU usage is fine (rarely getting above 30%... more like 5% when the system is stalled and I'm waiting on something to load), and physical memory sits at or around 50% (4GB). I've noticed that Microsoft Protective Services (or something like that) is constantly shutting off, and the notification in the toolbar pops up often to activate it. MSE appears to be running this entire time. I'm really at a loss here. I may try restoring to a point further in the past, and I'm considering doing a backup and just doing a clean Windows 7 install... but I have expensive programs I got for free from school, and I'm worried I won't be able to activate those downloads again (I have the ISOs and activation numbers, but not sure the activation numbers will work). They're mostly Microsoft programs (Office Professional, Visio, Project, etc). Since I've graduated I no longer have access to the school servers to download them. Any suggestions would be helpful.