It may not help with this particular problem,but have you tried running Advanced Windows Care? Link The system optimizer is very good. I have used it to correct problems on several machines,including my mothers.Her IE7 and control panel would freeze up to the point it was unusable. I swear by it now.
It has some other very useful features also,and is worth the price(free).You can always look at the problems it finds and decide what to let it repair,but it has never gone wrong for me.Give it a try.