You made me look... and I remain confused. It is POSSIBLE the WGA is at fault during this month's patch and update. Aggressive and, it appears, inflicted with a memory leak. No workaround suggested at this time, and killing WGA will kill Vista over time... Can we see an update on the horizon?
I did get a (marginal) answer to my connected v not connected slowdowns... the tcp/ip stack is (under Vista) not obeying a three strike and quit attempt to access internet on a machine that is set up to connect to the internet.