Thanks & sorry CDuncle,
I have 512 MB RAM, not 256. I have been thinking of adding RAM to the desktop. I was looking for the MB manual the other day to ck specs to go online & ck prices. I also want to put in some better optical drives, but I need to go over the Dell 380's specs and run some hardware tests and figure out if it's worth putting $ in this out of warranty computer. Someone else picked out & configured the Dell 380 per my list of uses & priorities and that didn't work out well.
I like to keep a cpu monitor in my task tray, currently I keep taskmanager open. I've watched cpu activity off and on for years while trying to figure out why every system I've had is so slow. Previously, the cpu's have hardly seemed to work. Recently on both the Dell & the tablet pc I've noticed frequent periods where the cpu goes to 100% and stays there. The thinkpad has 1.5 GB RAM and is the computer I end up using the most because I can't sit up long at the desktop. The only thing left to check for possible malware is one of the complicated rootkit checkers like rootkitrevealer or rootrepeal.
I burned the verbatim DL's w/out problem and have since done a lot of verbatim DVD+Rs w/out problem using Nero 8.