Ok! So I bit the bullet and formatted the laptop. By doing that it - of course - solved all our problems. Once a computer gets all full of junk there's really only one way to get it working again.
The main problem was the "virtual memory" which means I didn't have enough RAM for what I
wanted to do. This was kind of a curious problem since I was only running Firefox.
Another curious problem occurred after we formatted and I went to get online... It wouldn't work. Glen set up a wireless network in the house a few days ago so he tried fiddling with that and it still didn't work. We hooked the computer up with the cord and the internet started work. Didn't do us much good when we wanted to be wireless... Anyway, we installed some updates and voilà! It worked! Who knew you needed more than service pack 1 to use wifi (clearly not us)?
Anyway, all I have to do is find my photoshop disc and I'll be ready to do some serious posting.
(I don't know how people can format so often, it takes ages to set everything back up!!)