I imagine this question's been asked before, but I can't search the site. I've looked around on the web, but only found conflicting advice.
My problem is that on Windows 98SE, System Monitor lists my processor usage as about 80 % when my computer is doing nothing. Closing all running applications makes no difference, and I've checked that only the usual ports are open. Moving the mouse causes the value to fall to about 40 %. While idle, there is no hard disk activity.
Using WinTop, I can see that the program "Idle" is using 80 % of the CPU, and that nothing else comes close. When playing an mp3 file, Winamp takes about 20 % of the CPU, and idle still gets about 70 %. The idle process always seems to get more than ten times the 'CPU Time' as any other program.
I've read in various places that this is normal. However, what makes me think this is a problem is that my computer, which is a laptop, seems to get hotter than it used to while idle. After it's been sitting there doing nothing for a while, the fan comes on. I don't remember the fan coming on very much normally. I also use Linux on the computer, and I've only ever had the fan come on while I've been running some highly CPU-intensive simulations--certainly never while the computer's idle.
Thanks for any help you can give me, even if it's just to tell me that high CPU utilization is normal.