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Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: 4/29/05 Why is my computer busy at work when I'm not?

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) April 26, 2005 11:50 PM PDT

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4/29/05 Why is my computer busy at work when I'm not?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 4/26/05 11:50 PM

Thanks to all of you who contributed to this past week's Q&A topic.
Pitura, I hope this week's members' recommendations give you some direction to your concerns. And if you have a moment, please join us in the discussion below, to let us know if these provided answer helped out in anyway.

Members, if you have more questions, or additional advice on this topic, by all means feel free to post them in this thread below. Its all up to you as a community to contribute and learn from one another. So keep on posting.

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend!
-Lee Koo
CNET Community


I'm running a P4 2GHz PC Windows XP system with 256MB of RAM.
Periodically while the system is not being used, I notice the
hard drive light flashing and it sounds like some sort of
intensive file read/write is going on. I open the Windows
Task Manager Processes window to find out what is
running, and the only service that is consuming the CPU is
the system idle process, very high around 95 to 98 percent.
Also, as soon as I open this window, the hard drive stops
acting busy. I have Norton AntiVirus, Spybot, and the
ZoneAlarm firewall installed and running, but these don't
appear to be what's keeping my CPU busy. There are no open
applications on my taskbar either. What else could it be?

Submitted by: Pitura


Hi Pitura,

What you are witnessing, if you have not scheduled any other background tasks to run while the system is idle, is the XP Indexer at work. The dead giveaway is the fact that your HDD stops the activity as soon as you start another activity. It kicks in periodically only when your processor is otherwise idle. The purpose of the Indexer is to speed up your file operations. If you have a large number of data files, say hundreds, having their location indexed by the system could be beneficial, at least in theory. If you don't have a large number of files in your My Documents folder or other data files, you might consider turning the indexing off.

Click the Start button.
Select Run.
Type in services.msc and click OK.
Select Indexing Services.
Change Startup Type to Disabled.
Close the Services Window.


Submitted by: Matti S.

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