You tend to see more of the spinning beachball if:
- You are low on physical RAM
- You are low on free space on the hard drive
- You insist on running commercial (and unneeded) anti-virus or internet security software
- You are using third-party backup software
- You use third-party system hacks/modifiers
to name a few.
it means the system is busy and you have to wait before it will respond to mouse clicks or key presses by you.
Sligh correction here. Sometimes it is the system; but sometimes it is just a specific app, while the system will continue to accept user input, and you may switch to a different app.
The 'official' name is the spinning wait cursor. Go to
for a few more details and troubleshooting techniques (if necessary).