Unable to open most programs... no virus showing up!

Ok, so last night I was having no problems with my system. I spent all day using Photoshop with no troubles. This morning, I went to open Outlook and it gave me an hourglass for about 2 seconds and then, nothing. Same with Explorer and most of the other programs. This happened whether or not I clicked the shortcut on the desktop or went into the start menu. The only folders I have been able to open are the recycle bin and the "my computer". To get online I had to push Ctrl, Alt, Del then click on "new task" and browse until I found what I needed. Any idea what could be causing this? I have rebooted (several times) and run virus checks, spyware checks, etc. Any help would be very appreciated!

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More about unable open programs virus showing
  1. while in task manager see if there are any programs running or if any unknown processes are there. Be sure to look at the cpu usage of each to see if something is hogging the system

    Also goto start|run and type msconfig then goto startup and check to see if anything that you didnt want running is set to start.

    Third goto start|all programs|accessories|command prompt
    type cd\ {enter}
    type chkdsk c: /f {enter}
    This may or may not be something you have seen before I dont know but it is safe.
    It is doing a file intergrity check to make sure all of your files are where your system thinks they are and the /f fixes the ones that are wrong.
    when its done close the window and reboot.

    This may not solve your problem but is a great place to begin.
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