First off I'd grade your response as the best answer but such a button is not evident. Why do these forums make things hard? Anyway, if I find such a button I'll definitely press it.
I tried your suggestion and fired up SysInternals Process Explorer and found a strange applet called audiodg.exe using up 18+ percent of my cpu cycles. This was during a time when I had neither a tune nor a video playing. Thought that was strange, killed the process and went about my business. Leaving Process Explorer running on screen 2 I tried launching tunes, then movies, then download streams but good ole audiodg didn't pop back up. So I don't know. I still get this goofy "not responding" action from virtually every app I run and Process Explorer lists no major cpu cycle killers. Strange brew. What I did notice in this exercise is the shear magnitude of Firefoxes memory demands. It so looks like memory leaks, begins with maybe 300-400k usage and ramps up to 2.7-2.8 megs when I'm doing nothing within the app. Using FF 9. Anyway, appreciate your quick response and guidance on tools I can use in my daunting trip through the world of windows. When someone gives me a hint on how to log your response as the best, I'll do so.