Noisy laptop!

I have an Acer Aspire 1800 laptop on which I run Windows XP and am very satisfied with the overall performance.
However, a friend visited recently and commented on the fact that the motor (!) was running all the time, whereas his operates silently except when starting up.
Afraid I don't know the details of his computer, other than it is a lap top.
Is this continual noise a peculiarity of Acer or is there something I can do to reduce/cut out the noise.
I confess that it has never really bothered me in the past, but since my friend's remarks, I am beginning to worry in case there is a problem waiting to happen!!

  Clapton is God 14:29 17 Mar 09

The noise you hear will be the cooling fan, not the 'motor'.

It is unusual for the fan to run constantly.

Do you have the laptop on a solid surface so that there's a good air flow underneath to keep it cool?

In any event, check that the vents underneath are clear and free of dust and other blockages.

The laptop rests on a wooden desk, on rubber stands which are part of the casing.
The clearance between the desk and the casing is only about quarter inch - should I look at some way of raising the laptop to increase the gap and perhaps improve air flow?
I do clear the vents underneath the machine at regular intervals, but this does not have any effect on the noise!

  Clapton is God 14:59 17 Mar 09

No need to raise it. A quarter inch is fine.

How hard is your HDD working?

In Windows Task Manager, click on the Performance tab and have a look at the CPU Usage percentage figure.

Apologies for delay in replying - collected grand daughter from school!!! She will be impressed if I can sort out this problem!
The CPU usage shows a graph presumably based on the fluctuating % figures in the small screen alongside it. This % figure varies between 2% when nothing is happening, up to around 60% when I move the mouse across the screen!!

  Clapton is God 09:34 18 Mar 09

60% when simply moving the mouse is rather on the high side.

It would be a good idea to do a basic spring clean of the laptop.

Use click here to clean out all the 'crap'.

Use msconfig to disable all those programs and processes that you don't need and which run in the background on start-up. This will help you to decide which ones you can disable click here

Uninstall all those unneeded programs which you never use and, finally, defrag the HDD.

  mooly 11:27 18 Mar 09

All good advice above, just add that some anti virus programs can be a bit resource hungry, particularly when web surfing. Do you have Windows Defender running a daily scheduled scan as well ? I have an Acer Aspire, not your model running Vista... and as I am on here typing the fan runs for around 20 to 45 secs on it's slowest speed then is off for about 2 to 3 mins. CPU at less than 10% when "mouse moving"

Apologies for the delay in replying - been looking after a friend who collapsed at home!!
Thanks for your suggestions. I have run the CCleaner and it has removed over 160 items.
I do not have Windows Defender running as when I installed the latest version of Norton Anti Virus, I was asked to remove it!!
Now to the "stupid" bit!! - I am lost by the reference to 'msconfig' - I have clicked and printed out the sysinfo details but they don't mean a lot to me - guess I need to understand the 'msconfig' instruction first.
Could you explain it as simply as possible, please?
I bet this is a really easy thing to understand, but suppose it will give other readers a laugh!!!!

  Clapton is God 16:06 20 Mar 09

In XP go to Start; Run.

In the dialogue box type msconfig

In the window which comes up click on the startup tab.

You will see a list of processes down the left-hand side.

You can type the names of those process into the sysinfo site and it will tell you whether they can be safely stopped or not.

Back in the msconfig startup tab, untick all of those that can be stopped, Click Apply, OK and re-boot.

  Clapton is God 16:25 20 Mar 09

An aside.

In his/her post of 18/03, mooly mentioned that some anti-virus programs can be resource hungry (causing the laptop to work harder).

Unfortunately, Norton, which you use, is probably one of the most resource hungry of the lot.

Re the reply 20/03/09 16.06 - I have identified the unrequired processes and unticked them, as suggested. Clicked Apply & Close & done a restart, but they are ticked again when I check.
I have also tried clicking 'Delete all items' and then ticked the ones i wish to retain, but with the same result.
Also, after restart I get a grey message headed 'System Configuration Untility' to the effect that it is in Diagnostic or Selective Start Up Mode and I should choose Normal StartUp mode and undo all the changes I have made. Upon checking the 'General' tab, I find that the Selective Mode has been ticked, although at no point have I touched this!!
I feel somewhat out of my depth here, so some further simple guidance would be appreciated!!
To further complicate matters, since attempting this procedure, I find that I cannot write anything to disk - Properties indicates that the disk is full, although I know it is not! Could this be related to what I am trying to do, or shold I open anew thread?

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