Dinesh - yes it continues after i reboot my computer. the busy cursor last for 7 seconds at 18-second intervals: 7 seconds busy, 18 seconds still. it does this continuously.
Saurahb A - the default cursor has not changed, but while checking this out, i realized that the curson for a program "working in the backgrounfd" is what i am seeing. there is a program that is continually seeking, and it appears to be "HPNetworkCommunicator.exe." The same thing happens no matter what program i am using, or if there is no activity on the desktop. The computer does not freeze. I can move the "busy in the background" cursor to other parts of the screen easily. yes, i check for computer virus, but found none. Since i posted my issue, i ran pctuneup.com, and now there is no abnormal CPU usage. CPU usage fluctuates from 0 to 2 with 110 processes running, as i write this post.
Thanx, both of you for your help.