Just finished new build and installed an OEM version of XP Pro SP2. Also, installed Office 2003. A couple of issues (maybe related?); First, the light on the hard drive is constantly coming on - about 1 blink per second or two even when idle. Second, if I have more than two Office programs running, it takes an unusually long time to switch back and forth - maybe 3 to 8 seconds. My old Pentium did this without any delay.
Check to see if this service is running (indexing service) If the service was installed during the installation or a third party aplication (google desktop for example) AND since you said it was a new install, It may be trying to index your hard drive - simply turn the service off that should instantly stop the hard drive light and the sluggish proformance.
Administrative tools - services - indexing service
Note - if left on, once windows has finished indexing, the problem should resolve on its own.
I actually did find another reference buried in the microsft knowledge base.
Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, or S.M.A.R.T., is a monitoring system for computer hard disks to detect and report on various indicators of reliability, in the hope of anticipating failures.
Although the information was not real clear - apparently some m.b. manufactures have this option in the bios. I checked mine (gigabyte m.b.) and is actually was there - and by default set to - disabled / off
It's nothing to be concerned about. Windows is either indexing files or some program is possibly doing something in the background. It may even be writing cached info back to the hard drive. I have seen this with all NT machines from NT 4.0 to 2000 to XP and now Vista. Absolutely nothing to be worried about.
Tried disabling the SMART function but this had no effect.
I was able to resolve the issue with the delay in switching between active windows - used a program called Advanced WindowsCare (freeware). It found several errors in the registry and identified spyware (which neither Spybot or Norton could find).
Glad to hear the hd access is not an issue. I guess I will just have to get used to the flashing red light. Thanks to pcjim and Zoron for the help and suggestions.