He He - my local shop told me AVG Free is pretty decent, try it, if I like it, buy the full version, so I did.
I went to a couple of the sites you recommended, I'm sure it would tell me what I need to know - I looked at the samples -- He He - but I have no idea what it would be telling me or what to do. They are way over my head.
Years ago on an earlier version of Windows, I had a program that showed in the lower right corner, what was running, why, and how fast - simple, layman's terms, and you could hide it. I was hoping there was something like it still around.
When it does the "hard disk running trick," about the only way to stop it is cut the power to it. On a restart it usually doesn't do it for awhile. Control/Alt/Delete does nothing - in fact nothing else stops it except time - sometimes in a few minutes its finished, sometimes a few hours.
Task Manager says nothing is running, but the HD is whirring and the HD's light is on, everything else is locked up.