Also, perhaps just let it sit for a minute or two. Maybe it needs to think, and is doing something totally different like running makewhatis or prelink or ...
I've barely used samba in the distant past, but i doubt its related to just *installing* it. Are you actively using it for your homedir or anything like that? Maybe it's adding some "feature" to nautilus and it's suddenly got some new found capability its using on the network. OK. I'm just guessing here, but i dont have much to work with. :)
Oh, and is it ok when you removed samba?
no, samba wasn't cause. The freezing occured for a good few hours.
I already tried dmesg, a few reboots, installed XFCE but nothing apparent to me. I seem to recall that the makewhat thing might have affected an older laptop, back in the days of 30001 but this machine is 1gb ram, dual core, decent GPU etcblah
It seems fine today, so I'm starting to suspect it was overheating. (tried installing the XFCE sensors plugin last night but it's reporting "no sensors found!".)