My XP Pro installation has developed a nasty habit. I will return to my computer and see that the hard disk access led is constantly lit and stays that way. The computer is unresponsive and doesn’t repsond to keyboard or mouse. Though I am not patient, I have waited up to an hour and the disk access led remains lit and the computer unresponsive. The only solution is a hard reset. I have my swap file set to 4096 MB minimum and maximum so it is not re-sizing. The last 2 times this happened, I was running Clone DVD but it has also happened when nothing was running other than Outlook. Any insights would be much appreciated.
Check out the Event-Viewer logs and maybe perform a gernal system check using Everest.
Sounds almost like a harddrive failure to me. It might be wise to check your harddrive for errors. A good (and free, nondestructive) program is Drive fitness test by IBM/Hitachi. You can get it here: http://www.hgst.com/hdd/technolo/dft/dftnew.htm.
I agree with dee-ahn, sounds like your HDD is going TU on ya. Of course it could be something else, but I’ve seen a few HDD’s fail in about the same way. I would say good chance it’s the HDD, if you don’t have your stuff backed up, I’d do it now if I were you. It could get worse and completely fail any time if that’s what it is.