Unresoponsive programs and issue shutting down/restarting windows 7

Lately my computer has been performing weird. Random programs crash and become unresponsive as soon as I launch them, utorrent was the fist to bring this issue to my attention. It was running over night, when I checked on it in the morning it was not responding and I had to manually end the process. since then it stops responding as soon as its launched. reinstalling did not fix anything. I've also discovered the the html help dialogue window does the same thing. Even the default windows photo viewer does this when I try to open any pic files. Another thing I've noticed is with outlook 2010. It will open fine and work fine but the moment I click on my email profile on the left pane it immediately stops responding. And these are just the ones Ive stumbled on so far, who knows what other programs will crash the same way. This is just part of an onslaught of issues that began occurring at around the same time. Some of my icon images began to not work anymore and reset themselves to the default unknown program icon, this includes office 2010 documents, pdf files, and some random program shortcuts. they would still open up with the correct program but the icon image was gone. Rebuilding my icon cache did not fix it. Also when I shut down or restart i get the "waiting for task host window to close" message, and it just lingers unless I tell it to force shut down or restart. I've been busting my heads with this for a while but I've hit a wall. Rkill dosn't indicated anything wrong or suspicious, Mbam found nothing, hitmanpro found nothing, rogue killer found nothing, avast found nothing, aswmbr found nothing. I suspect something went bonkers somewhere in my registry. Hopefully I can fix this without needing to reinstall windows, I work from my home pc and it would be a pain to have to re-organize all my data -_-. So all that being said, I'm here seeking the help of my fellow techies. All input is appreciated
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