I just wanted to describe something here for the benefit of others who run into the same problem and may be searching newsgroups or Googling for answers. After reading some stuff a few days ago on the Web which maintained that the Windows 2000 Protected Storage Service is non-essential, I changed its startup on my system from 'Automatic' to 'Manual'. Everything seemed fine when it wasn't running, so I promptly forgot about it. Then I started getting a long delay in the launch of Outlook Express, about a full three minutes from the time I clicked the icon to when the app window appeared. Of course, I spent a good few hours troubleshooting it, including reinstallation of Internet Explorer. Information from websites, newsgroups and forums led me down many a trail, from strange entanglements of OE with MSN Messenger to a corrupt msoe.dll, etc.,. Finally I disciplined myself to think back over the previous few days, trying to remember whatever little sysytem changes I had made. I recalled switching the startup status of the Protected Storage Service, switched it back to 'Automatic', rebooted and Outlook Express was back to its snappy self... So, be careful when you read that disabling such-and-such Service will relieve you of a memory-hogging process, especially if it's a Service straight from MS. There's no easy way to see all the ramifications (I'm sure all this applies to XP as well as Win2k).