WoW locking up on my new laptop (possibly vista?)

I just bought a new laptop, and I get locked up on it from time to time. I might have the settings a bit too high, but I have great components, so I'm wondering why the performance is so bad.

I have:
T7300 2.0ghz 4MB cache proc
8600GT 256MB DDR2 gfx card
1920x1200 display
2GB ram
Vista business

I turn most of the video options on. Symptoms include:

1) A period of freezing when I start the game. It'll lock up, unfreeze, lock up, unfreeze, etc for about a minute or so. Moving around right at the start will make the locks even worse. I'm assuming it's because the graphics are trying to load. I also notice this after my computer has been idle (energy saving mode) before I play.

2) Locking up when spells/effects are done for the first time. When I cast spells for the first time, or when someone else casts around me, I'll get a small lock.

3) When my char is casted on by other chars. PvP is almost impossible for me if someone with magic or special effects is facing me. A mage attacked me and I locked up for probably around 20 seconds or so. By the time I unfroze, I was dead and the mage was well away from my body. When I face warriors/hunters/people with non-graphic attacks I'm fine. Occasionally, monster special effects will lock me up.

4) Flying. Sometimes flight is ok... and I only skip around a bit, but occasionally I'll get very long locking periods.

Other info/ideas:
- On average, I would get about 18-20 fps. I disabled a few options and took AA to 2x and got up to 24 FPS. This was on hellfire peninsula.
- Might be vista. When I get the locking periods ( #1 symptom ) I check task manager and I notice that sometimes windows defender uses decent chunks of the CPU.

Are there tweaks or things that I can do to improve performance? Cache graphic files? disable Vista stuff? tweak the wow client itself? Has anyone else had/solved these problem?

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  1. Pretty common problem as of last patch. May want to test it out with base UI IE default and no addons. But im willing to bet you're in the same boat as a lot of others. Visit the WOW site forums for tech support and look around. There is a 100+ page post about the same problem you're having. It's not vista.
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