Audio stutter since Hotfix or DirectX installation

Hi all

My PC's been acting up over the last week: on opening certain applications (most notably Excel and Adobe Reader), the audio slows down and stutters for a few seconds.

Looking at the CPU monitor when opening these apps, CPU usage rockets to 100% - is this normal? The sound slows & stutters for the duration of the 100% usage.

The problem occurs whether I'm using my PCI SoundBlaster Live or the integrated AC97 audio, and I've reinstalled the drivers for both, to no avail.

The issue started after I installed Hotfix KB942288-v3 (latest Windows Installer), or possibly after DirectX updated itself an hour after I'd installed that Hotfix. I have since removed the Hotfix, but again to no avail.

Hope someone out there can help!

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