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explorer.exe in Win2k using almost 700MB of RAM

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I am completely stumped. Every now and then some programs on my computer running Windows 2000 will start using about 700Mb of memory and the computer will almost hang, but there is almost no processor usage. I've scanned for viruses and spyware, but with no luck.

The program that is usually taking the memory is explorer.exe, but I have also seen winrar.exe and a few others do it. The computer will almost hang for about one to one and a half minutes before it returns to normal. I am able to pull up task manager while this is happening and that is how I can tell how much memory the program is using.

I have done a full scan of my system using Norton Antivirus 2005 and Adaware SE Personal 1.05 (both with the most recent definitions) but the problem still exists. I have tried to search the web for someone with a similar problem but I have no idea on how to word my search phrase so it returns relevant results. At this point I am up for any suggestions or ideas, but if you know what is really going on that would be appreciated too :tazz:

My system specs:
Windows 2000 (5.0 SP4 build 2195)
2Ghz AMD processor (the 2600+ I think)
1GB of ram (2 x 512MB)
Gigabyte 7VAX motherboard
ATI Radeon 9600XT
40 GB Maxtor HDD (primary, OS on this one)
120 GB and 200 GB Maxtor HDDs (storage)
I can't think of anymore relevant hardware or software on my system

Again, thank you for any suggestions or recommendations you may have. I would very much like to resolve this issue without having to do a clean install of Win2k, plus then I would never know why this was being caused and that would just drive me crazy.

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