Well, the computer seems to experience the most problems, and makes the most noise, when it is trying to access parts of the drive, or other programs. Going online doesn't seem to present big problems, but opening Fireworks (the program I use to take the scanned images of art, crop them, color correct them, and convert them to JPGs for posting online) really seems to push it to its limit.
Fortunately, today we found a remarkably inexpensive and quite powerful laptop, so things should be okay eventually. The only real complication now is finding another good program to edit my scanned art. I've grown very comfortable with, and fond of, Fireworks but to buy that program now would cost me over $300. That's more than half the sticker price of the laptop, and money I just don't have. I'm investigating some alternatives, but I definitely need something that's more robust than the free photo editing software that comes with most computers. For example, I need some fairly subtle ways to adjust the brightness and contrast, and I need the use of a clone stamp too. We'll see what I come up with.
In the meantime, for now, the old PC and the old scanner seem to be clinging to life, so I was able to get the most recent two pieces scanned and posted. You'll see them both today.