So, this is really annoying me, and short of attempting a fresh reinstall, I thought I'd try here first.
My system: a HP laptop, HP DV4-1548DX Laptop, Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300 (2.1 GHz), with 4GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB HDD, all the other basics for this HP model. It came pre-installed with Win7 Home Prem 32-bit. I immediately wiped the machine and installed Win7 Ultimate 64-bit. I have few programs installed (MS Office 2003, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Bridge, CS3, little else), only the HP drivers, no add-on hardware.
The strangeness: I have not determined what causes this event it seems the two problems are linked. Whenever I witness problem (A), I always find problem (B) to then occur.
Problem A: I have this laptop on a home network, which is not homegroup but one I renamed, let's call it HOMENET. On Homenet is this laptop and one desktop, running WinXP Pro SP3. From this laptop, I have no difficulty click the "start" button, then "network", and seeing my Desktop. I can login to it fine, and ususally use my login credentials, not "guest". However, invariably, at some point through the day (apparently unrelated to whether or not the laptop has gone to sleep that day, and the desktop never goes to sleep), I will go to network, and the desktop will no longer be there. (Side note, this "seems" to only happens if I've logged into the desktop from the laptop at some point earlier, though I log into it nearly daily, so it may be coincidence.)
Now, if I observe Problem A, then Problem B ALWAYS occurs.
Problem B: Attempting to either restart or shutdown the laptop, it gets to the blue Windows 7 screen, shows "Logging off...", the HDD light shows brief activity but then goes dead, and nothing more happens. The Windows 7 screen continues to say "Logging off..." forever (I let it sit there once for a half hour), yet the little progress wheel continues to turn. Thus it never freezes, it simply stops attempting to log off. At which point, the only solution is a hard, forced shutdown by holding the laptop's power button down for 5 secs. Upon restarting, everything always works again.
Note, I have never observed Problem B without Problem A, however, because I am always logging into my HOMENET, it may just be coincidental.
So, I hope some of you have read this far. I hate being on the forefront of Windows bugs, and hope one you might have some clues. My suspicion is that it's driver related.
Without your help, I may be forced to do a fresh install and only install the HP drivers one at a time after seeing if each in turn does not present the problems again. But obviously this is a huge hassle, and I pray I don't have to do this.
Humbly and respectfully,