OK ... I'm going to answer my own question. I checked the box in iTunes PREFS "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically" then went back to the DEVICES screen, iPhone summary, then unplugged the iPhone, and then back to iTunes PREFS and re-checked that box, then quit iTunes. Then I plugged the iPhone back into the computer and Voila! iTunes opens and syncs! Why? Who knows?
This did NOT SOLVE the problem of wireless backup ... still not working ... whether iTunes is open or not.
with your phone connected to iTunes, under summary, scroll down a little bit and there is an option to enable wifi syncing that is disabled by default. iTunes has to be open for the sync to work.
To test goto settings, general and itunes wifi sync, it should show your computer and have a sync now button enabled.
i always have problems with Itunes freezing up, it happens when it says it is trying to connect to some Ipad of Iphone that is not even plugged into a power outlet. It should only connect to devices that are being charged at the time but this is not the case.
Itunes is now the only program that freezes up my Windows 7 pc. It is very frustrating and a waste of time. The wireless updating thing I think is the problem.