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Acer 700 shutdown problem

After leaving the computer on for a while, I will click an icon and nothing will happen. Worse, I cannot shut down even with ctl-alt-delete. I have to manually power down which I don't like doing. Tried everything: scans. anti virus, registry repair - even replacing firefox, and nothing works. I'm stumped at the moment. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Using Vista 32 bit with SP1. Just a most recent problem. Never had any problems before. I will say that a couple of times I have seen boxes with a red X error message, but I cannot isolate it with my diagnostic or repair programs.

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