Computer Problem (Maybe)

If I let my computer sit for ~5 min, the harddrive will rev (data will be written to, and taken off of the hard drive), and my CPU usage goes from about 20% to 100%. If I touch the mouse or anything, the CPU usage goes back down to normal.

All this is on a 500Mhz computer w/ 96 megs of ram, a <10GB hard drive running Windows 98. (I really don’t think any of that matter though).

I don’t have any screen savers or virus scanners (that computer is not connected to the internet, it is really just a glorifyed typewriter), so what could possibly be doing that? thanks in Advance!

Press ctrl-alt-del to get the task manager, and take a look at what’s running. You’ll probably want to write all those things down.

Then go to the start menu, click Run, and type msconfig. When that starts, go to the “startup” tab and take a look at everything it shows you. It will give you the names of the programs that run on startup, and their locations, which will usually be enough to identify any really cryptic file names.

If there are programs running that you don’t think you need, un-check the box next to them. Then close out msconfig and anything else you have running and re-start your computer and see what happens. You can always run msconfig again and re-check stuff if it needs to run.

Press ctrl-alt-del. End every task, one by one until the CPU usage drops. When and if that happens, uninstall or disable that program you ended last that made the difference in CPU usage per infamousmoms MSCONFIG suggestion.

Sounds like you have an automatic defrag running…?

Almost certainly just standard Windows stuff happening. Copying memory to pagefile or vice versa, scheduled things as mentioned such as defrag. No reason to worry. Mine chunters away like an elderly relative whenever I leave it alone, and I know it’s clean of any crapware.

Yeah, I second GorillaMan. It’s probably just Windows doing some indexing, reallocating pages, defragging, or other housekeeping things.

If you leave your computer sit idle, after a while windows will try to “optimize” it’s swap file. The idea is that if it can make the swap file a bit more organized, your computer will perform slightly faster.

This type of activity usually stops when you start using the computer again, so it fits your symptoms really well.

another possibility is that you have S.M.A.R.T. running in the cmos.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to run a quick scan for spyware as well. Just to make sure that it is Windows doing it and not some program flying under the radar.