User Preferences Doesn't Work

I have just started using blender and am still learning how to use it. I have very little knowledge about most technical things (such as API, F-curves and a lot more), so I hope I am given an answer I will understand.
Anyway, the problem is that every time I try to open the user preferences (I am planning to use the ANT landscaping tool, for my first project), the whole program immediately becomes unresponsive and I can either shut it down or ‘search for a solution on the internet’. It is probably some kind of problem with my graphics card (I have a laptop) or RAM or something (again, I know very little about this kind of stuff), but i might have missed something. So please help me and try to give me a solution.

I now know that it is not a problem with the windows 64 or 32 download and i have been told about the python file. Also, the blender file contains a ‘scripts’ file which contains files including ‘addons’.

Thankyou,
Ray Green

PS:
I also have 3 other problems that are not related to crashing or such:

  1. How do i make an object move from one layer to another during an animation, to effectively make it appear and disappear? Is there another method?
  2. When i try to edit the transparency of an object the preview does change, but the object itself doesn’t. (It does work with color.)
  3. How do I make an object have the characteristics of a hard ball, that kind of explodes when i make it fall down on a plane/surface? What is the physics?