My work laptop that I've had for about six weeks has suddenly become much more unresponsive. It is not generally slow, as when it is responsive, it's speed is comensurate with a Core2 Duo 2GHz with 2GB ram running VS 2010. The OS is Windows 7 Enterprise, and the anti-virus is ESET NOD32. That has been running since I got the machine, and since before the unresponsive breaks started happening.
The problem is that it often 'sticks', as if some very resource intensive background process is briefly running, and then it besomes responsive again. Task Manager doesn't give much helpful information, except to show that Firefox and Visual Studio are the top memory users, but even the VS CPU usage seldom goes over 10%, except during a build, but I'm not building while I'm coding. Firefox shows about 220MB ram, but mostly zero CPU, and VS shows around 320MB ram.
I suspect some process(es) are hogging other resources, such as network and or HDD. What tools and techniques can I use to help me find the cause of these frequent moments of unresponsiveness?