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Going nutty: how can I find out what is blocking pv.exe and locking HOSTS?

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I my ongoing efforts to get a website up and running, I've found a free host that can handle textpattern - great!  So now I'm trying to get textpattern setup on my machine so that I can set about making a webpage.  However...  I followed installation advice from the Textbook project, and installed XAMPP.  But I can't go to localhost: when I do, I just get a blank screen.  Which smells to me like there's a localhost entry in my HOSTS file - but I can't figure out what program has blocked it...  And likewise, when I start up XAMPP Control Panel and set Apache and MySQL services running, I get a constant clicking noise, and when I open Process Explorer, I can see that the noise is caused by something - one of my impregnable security programs, no doubt  :( - blocking it.  Is there a way I can find out which program is doing this, and which is blocking HOSTS too? 

I don't know if i right understand you.
Do you mean something like UnLocker ?

Well, the situation is that something seems to be stopping a module of Apache (pv.exe) from running, but I don't know which of my security programs it is!  At least I think it is one of my security programs - that's the only explanation that makes any sense at all.  (I can't actually get the Unlocker site to work either, so can't confirm if that does what I want...)

the common way to find out what might be stopping it is
to start shutting down any security apps until the blocking stops.

might want to disconnect from the internet first..

of course it could very well be that apache or whatever from running -
check for a log file to see if there is any reason being given for it exiting.

I tried that... I switched off everything...  Unless it's NOD's kernel service, which seems impossible to disable...


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