My computer was deadly slow, several processes took over the computer resources, such as CPU, which almost always was permanently at 100%, IO resources, several processes were reading several Gb's of data, (what for?), it was a nightmare. The bigger the computers grow the slower they can become. I have a Laptop I use as a server with several VM Machines running when required which serve as test environments. I use Windows XP, yeap, I personally don't like Vista and if possible I avoided new releases, except for Windows 2003 and Windows 2008.
One of the resource consuming processes was the jqs.exe, a process that runs in the background with low priority but which can lead your computer to IO starvation. JQS is an acronym after Java Quick Starter, it is used to speed up the launch of java applets, but if you are not launching Java applets too much frequently it is not worth keeping it running. Now, if you want to disable the Java Quick Starter process you can do that in the Windows Control Panel. You find a Java entry there which will open the Java Control Panel. A click on Advanced and the selection of Miscellaneous will display the activated Java Quick Starter entry. Uncheck the box to disable the process. You have gotten rid of the jqs.exe process. Hasta la vista baby! ...
CCSCHST.EXE is another heavy weight process I want to get rid of, this process creates another IO and CPU bottleneck. I have Norton Antivirus, this was not a good choice for an anti-vrus, it deadly slowed down the computer performance. It is being said that it has to do with a conflict between the Microsoft update process and Norton.
I disabled the automatic windows update feature from the control panel. A red alert is displayed, this let me remember that I have to manually connect to the Microsoft site to perform the updates. Here it is an article that describes what is going on with this issue Norton Vs. Microsoft . I disabled the NAV security features so that Norton does not try to start the live update on its own. I choosed to manually launch the updates.
In the case of Norton AntiVirus I had to leave several features to the minimum, or even disable them from the NAV control panel.
Another nice application that consumes a lot of resources, particularly during system startup is the Weather Channel desktop, it is a very useful and nice application, particularly considering these unpredictable winter weather, but neither my machine nor my work are willing to go through the additional overhead required to startup this application at windows start time. So I disabled it from starting at windows start time. I'll go through the Weather channel web page to keep updated about the weather.
I also have the Virtual Machine server from VMWare, it requires several resources during startup, but this is one of the application I use the most, so there is not too many options but to let it be.
And finally firefox, I love FireFox, but I do not know what happened to the latest releases, particularly 3.X. There have been several upgrades, it added new features, and it is pretty nice, but it requires more resources. Either way after getting rid of all of the ballast my machine had to carry on during startup and production time, there are enough free system resources for fireFox, so this is definitely out of my personal deinstallation list.