Snipes was one of the two huge time killers for me too... what a classic game.
I'm betting Seagate dropped some serious $AU to get this passed.
I run a computer lab at the University of Washington. There's a few reasons why computer labs won't go away soon for us:
1) Expensive software - if we did away with labs students would have to buy software such as SPSS, and they would need it only for a few classes. We don't think its reasonable to expect students to incur this added expense.
2) Specialized hardware - Our video editing suites will always require video editing hardware and DVD/Blu-Ray readers and burners, and having nice scanners and color printing is an added incentive to come in to the lab.
We do make allowances for students with laptops though. I've made spaces for laptops where I've added power strips and networking points for those that don't use the 802 network. We're also looking at adding groupware to our lab to make it easier for groups to work and collaborate.
We also run our help desk out of a lab and we'll help students with their laptop issues. We allow students to come and eat and relax in this lab too. We've found that this atmosphere encourages students to come back to a lab environment.
My usual check list for this is:
1) Check the hard drive, SMART, or manufacturer diagnostics
2) Get the manufacturer diagnostics, and run a full hardware validation
3) If all is clean, check for things recently updated - a bad update may be clogging things
4) Check your anti-virus/anti-spyware software. Sometimes they can switch into extra-paranoid mode and slow things down horribly.
Assuming that you have spare drives, you can use mirroring as a backup solution.
I had a huge database that I was was responsible for and we'd lock the database and split the mirror, take the drive offsite.
If the system died, we had a spare drive available for immediate recovery.
It's all in how you do it.
Your program is sick! Shoot it and put it out of its memory.