Maybe a dumb vista question but...
That green bar that fills up when you try to open something.. IE a picture... what is it doing and how do i make it go away! I try to open a picture or just some file and that green bar fills up like it's doing something(gathering all the info about the file i guess) but why does it take so long to open a simple jpg?? Can I make it go through and do this to everything so things open normal like in XP?
The green bar is just the replacement for the spinning clocks/sand timer/ etc. that the other OS used - so I don't believe there is a specific way to disable it that I have come across. As far as opening things faster, Vista uses Superfetch, performance analysis logs, etc., when it opens any file. There is nothing that specifically allows quicker file access, however killing services that are overhead you're not using may help (or not depending on what you're doing with your PC). Disabling things like Superfetch, the Aero interface, etc., may be where you want to begin.
I think you have other problems. 5.7 on your CPU, what about your HD, a 1? Maybe you've got a bad dll, a bad spot on your drive or spyware... Is your boss monitoring for smut? Are you doing auto-defrag with your drives? What are you using to open pictures?
Just because I was curious as I never noticed opening pictures as being particularly slow; I do a lot of digital work and I too would have hit the roof with 10-15 seconds, I think Vista is much faster than XP on almost everything.
I just opened 4 different 1M jpeg files (different to eliminate any caching possibilities) with 4 different programs and they all took less than 2 seconds, including loading the program (paint was instant)! I can try some others...
MS Digital Imaging Suite (slowest)
MS Office Picture Manager
Windows Photo Gallery
It does sound like you have a hardware or application problem that you need to chase down.