finder became unresponsive, could not click to open spaces or apps

in macOS edited January 2014
I am not sure where the best place to post this is as I am not sure what caused the problem, whether it was parallels, windows, mac os or something else.

I was running parallels desktop 7.0 with windows xp, am using a mid 2010 macbook pro with snow leopard 10.6.8.

while I was in parallels, I wanted to look up something in finder, & launch spaces to open up one of my other active windows.

when I tired to click the finder icon, it would not open, the little blue glowing dot that normally shows below an app when I launch an app did not come up.

I then tried to click spaces to see/toggle to another one of my active windows, for finder & then Firefox, but nothing, when spaces launched, when I hovered my mouse over to highlight a window, it did not get the blue outline so I could click it.

I shut down windows & parallels, then disconnected my external hard drive, & then rebooted my mac. I also ran a repair disk permissions on my mac, (there was a very long list of results for this). After all this, my mac was back to normal, & seemed to run a bit more quickly, & I could open apps, & finder again.

I then opened parallels, & opened my virtual machine windows again. When it opened up, Adobe flash player popped up for me to install an update. I did this & all was ok.

Did the flash player update on my virtual machine windows cause finder my mac apps to freeze & not launch? I know sometimes update pop ups can do this.
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