The loading cursor that looks like a sand timer. Every time I open VS2010 and open or create any new project, the loading cursor flashes every ~2secs on and off even when VS2010 is minimized.
Cursor does not flash while viewing the options window.
You don't mention OS, but an easy way to see what is going on in Windows 7 and vista is to run resource monitor (start-> type "Resmon"). Check the disk tab especially to see vs2010 file activity.
An alternative application is (freeware) process explorer from Microsoft (formerly Sysinternals)