I need to give big props to Mebyon Kernow for his blog post here with the answer to this problem.
After installing VS2010 on my HP Mini, i noticed the cpu usage constantly sitting at 50+%. Upon looking at thr process manager, i saw that there were two rogue msiexec processes working hard and chewing up cpu cycles. As the HP Mini is a netbook, constant work on the cpu chews up battery life. A quick google* turned up the aforementioned blog post. Ten minutes after adding the appropriate folder, the msiexec instances finished their business and disappeared.
The answer in Mebyon's post was quite simple, and finding it meant i didn't have to think too hard for myself.
* I actually used Bing, but saying "a quick bing" doesn't have the same zhoosh as saying "a quick google".
Keywords: VS2010, rogue process, msiexec