Thanks Alex, I think I have to look again at what processes are running. Like you said, you don't know what else is running and that's what is hanging it up.
I gave the laptop back to my friend and will look into it again in the couple days. I've seen this happen on other distros that use Synaptic (Ubuntu, Klikit, PCLOS) you sometimes can't seem to find the process that hangs it up.
I have Mint 4.0 on my other PC and it was able to to update yesterday when the laptop, on the same dsl connection couldn't. In System Monitor, what other processes should I look for?
Hope to solve it soon.