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This sounds a lot like a symptom of a known bug that was very recently fixed. The fix should become available in the next ACR plugin release (4.1). I unfortunately don't have a good workaround for you in the meantime, so I apologize for the inconvenience.
This probably isn't the right place to make this comment, but I'm going to do it anyway. I have upgraded to CS3, and generally speaking I like it. Camera Raw has a lot of nice new features, and Photoshop itself has some good improvements. Generally speaking, everything works reasonably well on my antiquated (1.6 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM) system.
However, it seems that every time a new version is released the whole program is becoming more clunky. Bridge sometimes will not update previews, and sometimes won't even start without rebooting my computer. Sometimes Camera Raw will take and process my JPEG and tiff images, and sometimes it won't. If this was still the beta version I would understand having problems like this. I used the beta hoping that some of the issues I was encountering would go away. Some did and some didn't. The problems might get fixed sometime, but historically most (not all, but most) fixes don't show up until the next release. Upgrades are costly. It seems to me that a released new version should perform without problems. I purchased Photoshop version 4, 6, 7, and am now on my third release on the CS series. The early versions did not seem to have a lot of problems. In fact, up to version 7, I didn't even worry about the one patch that was released for some of them because I wasn't having any problems with the programs.
I appreciate all the efforts Adobe goes to trying to provide new features and improvements to old ones. But upgrading isn't solving the irritations that I am constantly faced with. I'm glad I have CS3. I use it exclusively, even though I have not yet removed CS2. However, in light of the frustrations I'm still facing, it is highly unlikely that I will ever bother to upgrade again. I'm able to accomplish what I need with what I have now. Maybe it's my old computer causing the problems. But it doesn't seem likely that upgrading again next time would be of any value. I feel like the upgrades are mostly paying for the attempt to fix problems that seem to be ongoing.
The problems you seem to be having are either Bridge specific or Bridge related...not so much Photoshop CS3...I suspect there WILL be a Bridge update coming pretty soon. If you remermbert CS2, Bridge 1.0 was followed pretty quickly with a 1.01 update that addressed a lot of issues.
I suspect you know rather than "suspect," Jeff. :) Good news.