Glen writes in with a hardware question.
Question:My hard drive, a new 160 Gig Maxtor, continually spins up and down while I'm at or away from the computer. Can I stop this? I don't hear other computers doing this.
Answer: When your hard drive is continuously spinning it could be caused by a couple of things. The first and easiest thing to do is to run Disk Defragmenter on the drive. When a hard drive becomes fragmented it has to search the disk in several different places that are spread out to get the information rather than in just one contiguous section. You should check it about once a month to see if it needs to be run.
Another reason a hard drive will be constantly working is because you do not have enough RAM in your system and the computer has to go to the hard drive for memory to make up for it. For Windows XP we recommend 512 MB as the minimum amount of RAM to get you good performance even though Microsoft says it 128 MB. RAM is cheap and easy to install.
I would also check your startup items to make sure you don't have any unnecessary programs starting with your computer using up your resources.