Why is my cursor constantly blinking between the arrow and the busy "hourglass" / "circle"?

I just did a fresh install of an OEM Windows Vista Premium 64-bit after a vigorous wiping of my HDD with DBAN. The first thing I notice after Windows installed ... my cursor is blinking between busy and not busy -constantly-. This wasn't happening before the wipe and there's hardly anything on the system (Steam games and a paid up / updated version of McAfee, pretty much.) Any recommendations on troubleshooting this?
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Was it doing that before you installed Mcafee? If you are not sure, try uninstalling it.
One way to troubleshoot it would be to open the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete) select the Processes tab then click twice on CPU in the CPU column. Watch to see if any program keeps rising to the top of the list.
Please post back with the result.

I would suspect this is due to some rouge process running on your machine. I would recommend using SysInternal's ProcessExplorer tool from Microsoft to troubleshoot the issue.


Look for a process that is consistently using a large portion of your CPU cycles. Chances are this process is the culprit. Try ending the process to see if the problem goes away.

You may notice that it is the process called "System" that is using the most CPU cycles. This is the process for the Windows Kernel. If you find out that this process is hogging your CPU, then it is probably a bad driver or kernel module that is causing the problem. Security suites and 3rd Party firewalls typically install such things into the kernel.

In this case what you'll want to do is this. From ProcessExplorer, right click on the System process and choose "Properties". Click on the Threads tab and sort by the CPU column. Which ever kernel thread is using the highest amount of CPU cycles is causing the problem. If it is an EXE file or SYS file that is not NKOSKRNL.EXE or NTKRNLPA.EXE, you can likely find out who the vendor is by clicking the Module button, then clicking the Version tab.

If it is NTOSKRNL or NTKRNLPA, it will be more difficult to determine the cause because that is the kernel image itself. At that point you may be able to kill the thread by highlighting it and clicking the "kill" button, but there's no telling what that might do. You could crash the system or force a reboot. But it might also kill the offending application and point you in the right direction. Try this at your own risk.

It is not always easy to troubleshoot this kind of issue. But ProcessExplorer has helped me solve issues similar to what you're experiencing in the past.

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TogaMarioAuthor Commented:
I did as you suggested (awesome utility, btw!) and found out that it was just a windows process being quirky. I noticed that I had updates that needed a restart, so after restarting, it works just fine now.

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