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What might cause a severe slowdown on a PC without showing high CPU usage?

What might cause a severe slowdown on a PC without showing high CPU usage?

A friend's Windows XP laptop has become extremely unresponsive over the last few days, taking over 30 seconds to open My Computer for example and a over a minute to open a locally stored Word document. I assumed that a process was consuming all the CPU but on looking in Task Manager, the CPU hovers around 10% while loading MS Word or performing other tasks.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 70
Total answers/comments: 2
Guest [Entry]

"Heavy Internet access can also freeze the machine, such as some program desperately trying to call home to a non-existent web address.

Use TCPView for Windows to see which programs are connected to tcp/ip ports when the freeze arrives."
Guest [Entry]

"If the CPU usage is ""normal"" then windows OS is waiting and timing out for something.
* It can be an earlier mapped drive, which is no longer available, OR
* an unavailable printer or locating available printer (Does it also take time to open cmd window ?).
* It could be that the driver mapping itself is taking time.
* Following link talks about searching for scheduled tasks on mapped drives. http://www.computing.net/answers/networking/slow-my-computer/5586.html"