Ok I disabled all startup items in msconfig plus a few services I didn't need and rebooted. That seemed to fix it so I re-enabled everything in startup except a few I don't need anymore. Rebooted and it's still working fine so that narrows it down basically to two things: Norton GoBack and Nokia phone tools - neither of which I use anyway so I guess I'm good. At least for now. Thanks for your quick reply.
BTW, I was talking about exe's as in any program at all that I tried to run. ie: I could click the icons to start Word, Messenger, Notepad, etc, and none of them would start for several minutes but then suddenly they would all load at once. Something was preventing anything from loading, but it wasn't because of CPU load or anything.
Not exactly sure why, but at least it's working now so I'm happy