Other things that I would think of....
1. Empty the trash (I've seen users with many thousands of items in the Deleted folder).
2. After you run the updates, also defrag the hard drive, maybe that will help.
3. Assuming a multi-cored proc you could also try setting processor affinity to the executable. In these days of 6-core procs I would bet that would be a huge help. I've seen this mentioned on Jerry Pournelle's blog some time ago, and this helped his e-mail profoundly from what he's said.
4. I've heard also that indexing is a bit time-suck, wonder if disabling this somehow would help?
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