Egg timer always there

  Ian in Northampton 11:42 07 Jan 2012

This has started to bug me out of all proportion to what it should...

Just about whatever I'm doing, the 'egg timer' is almost always appearing, sometimes for several seconds, sometimes just for one, as you would expect it to be if the system was waiting, with some application using a large amount of CPU and/or memory.

Yet: I've checked in Task Manager and there is nothing untoward: it's all normal, with the System Idle Process invariably taking more than 95% of the CPU cycles. I've looked at the CPU usage history graph and, while, as you might expect, there are occasional usage spikes, these don't coincide with the hour glass timer appearing.

I'd say performance wasn't affected - certainly not noticeably - so it's an annoyance rather than a problem. I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts (short, of course, of a fresh install...)

  birdface 12:22 07 Jan 2012

That is normal for system idle process it means only 5% of the CPU is being used.

Maybe try ipconfig /flushdns in command should tell you that the DNS cache has been flushed if so reboot and see if it makes any difference.

If using I/E make sure compatibility mode is selected.

  birdface 12:25 07 Jan 2012

I should have added if on this site it has been a bit slow at times during the last fortnight.

What browser do you use,if I/E try Firefox

make sure you have the latest flash and java updates and remove all of the old ones.

Speed test just to make sure it is ok.

  Ian in Northampton 14:11 07 Jan 2012

Thank Buteman. Sorry, I should perhaps have made it clearer. This is, so far as I can make out, nothing to do with online. It's when I'm running Outlook, or Word, or Money, or Excel - and yes, Chrome is generally there too. But the hourglass pops up over all those applications.

  iscanut 14:56 07 Jan 2012

Is your hard disk badly fragmented or nearing full capacity ?

  Ian in Northampton 15:52 07 Jan 2012

Iscanut: interesting - I hadn't thought of that. The drive is far from full - it has 82% free space - but Disk Defragmenter shows total fragmentation as 26% and file fragmentation as 52%, and recommends I defrag it. The pagefile is intact, however. It can't do any harm to try. I'll report back.

  Ian in Northampton 10:56 08 Jan 2012

Unfortunately, Iscanut, that wasn't the problem... :-( Good thought though. Anyone have any other ideas?

  birdface 11:31 08 Jan 2012

I suppose that you have downloaded all of the Office updates from Microsoft.

  birdface 11:39 08 Jan 2012

Did you try ipconfig /flushdns it usually helps with browsers opening slowly it may also help with office.

If using Office which version.

If using Office is there a way to repair it using Add Remove programs.

  Les28 13:14 08 Jan 2012

It's nothing to do with your security ant-virus program file checker is it? Are you a bit low on RAM?

Personally I'd rather see System Idle nearer 99% when at desktop.

My System Idle is at 99% while I'm writing this reply in Notepad and reading your post in Firefox, this is an over 6 year old XP P4 pc, so it looks at 95% you have something occupying the processor all the while that causes a slight hang when opening other things?

  Ian in Northampton 13:44 08 Jan 2012

Thanks for your interest guys. In fact, it turns out that the egg timer is present as described even when I have no applications open at all. The only thing that appears to occasionally grab the processor is a hard disk monitoring tool I use that just shows me when there's disk activity (because I have no disk activity light on the front of the case).

What's strange is that this is anew phenomenon - yet I'm not aware opf having changed anything.

To answer your specific questions: I'm using Office 2003, and haven't downloaded any updates since I installed it. But, as I said - everything's been fine till now.

Les: yes, mostly my System Idle is at 98% or more, and rarely below 95%. Just very occasionally, it seems to dip in response to activity from the hard disk monitor.

Hmmm - all very strange...

Buteman: as I said - this is happening even when there are no applications open, so I don't think Office is the culprit.

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