Bill Artman
Had this question 6
Question
Bill Artman asked on
| 12531 views

Windows XP CPU runs at 100% with no programs open

I am using Windows XP SP3 with 2 Gb of RAM with a Pentium 4 1.80Ghz processor.. The computer is EXTREMELY slow and sluggish most of the time. Sometimes it is fast and response but then it all of the sudden returns to extremely slow and sluggish - it's like something is taking over the processor.

When looking at the Task Manager Performance tab the CPU usage is running between 80 and 100% when there no programs open or running and only the Desktop is displayed.

I have run Super-Anti Spyware and it found 69 threats which have been removed.

I have run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and it found 1 threat which has been removed.

I have run ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus and it was a clean scan.

I have run the latest of version of CCleaner and cleaned the registry and the Cleaner tab to clean any temp files, etc.

I have defraged the drive and also checked/fixed for disk errors.

After doing this the CPU usage is still running extremely high with no programs open.

Does anyone have ideas as to what I can do or check to fix whatever is capturing the CPU?

Thanks.
Best Regards, Bill Artman Kansas City - USA
A. User
Found this helpful 1
Answer
A. User replied on

What is your system make and model?

You might be able to get some clues using about what is going on using Task Manager and maybe figure it out.

You will always figure out what is going on if you use Process Explorer.

Download Process Explorer so you can see what is "really" running on your system, especially behind those multiple svchosts you see running in Task Manager. 

Download Process Explorer from here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx

You'll like Process Explorer when you get the hang of it.  Process Explorer is the Windows Task Manager on steroids.  

Process Explorer installs nothing so it will not slow your system down since it only runs on demand.  

Process Explorer may look a little intimidating at first since it presents so much information, but you will start to get to like the way it works when you are looking for performance problems.   You can even tell PE that you want it to be your new default "Task Manager" from now on.  You can still run the original Task Manger too.

Once you get Process Explorer running, expand the columns, drag the corners of the display to make it bigger, etc. so you can see the most information as possible in the window.  Now you can really see everything that is running on the system.

Here is a screenshot of my system when I use Process Explorer:

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/2567/processexplorer.png

The CPU column is usually the most interesting to get started with performance issues - who is using the most? 

It is okay and normal to have multiple svchost processes running, but sometimes malicious software will hide behind them since the malicious software knows you will not be able to spot it in Task Manager.  

Malicious software can also disguise itself to appear to be a legitimate XP Process or it could hide under/behind other Processes that you see running in Task Manager so you cannot see it running.

The malicious software would like to fool you into thinking that you need to use a System Restore Point, perform a Repair Install or reinstall your XP from scratch when you really don't have to.

When looking at the display in Process Explorer, you would like the most CPU to be associated with System Idle Process.  That is the "free time" on your system so the more free time it has, the better.  

If you look at the performance graphs and see red spikes (or not) double click the graph in the top left corner to display the usage graph.  Hover the mouse over any spikes to see what causes them.  Even if the spike has already scrolled past in the display, you can still hover the mouse over the spike to see what caused it.  You can also just wait for a spike to occur and then see what caused the spike.

To help understand your svchost processes and what is running beneath them, read this article and you will be smarter than the average bear:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum56.html

Then with some Googling, you can look at each thing running in PE and behind your svchost processes and see what it is and decide if your configuration needs it or not and then decide what to do about it.  

If you think you have one svchost.exe Process that have run amok, using PE, you can right click that offensive svchost, Properties and on the Services and Threads tab you can see what is running under it.  

There is a CPU column that will need widening (make the column wider) so you can see CPU.  Perhaps you can spot which background process is consuming so much CPU under the svchost.exe process.   Look around under the svchost processes and you will find it.  

You can also see what is running under every svchost just by hovering your mouse over the svchost.exe process.  Some of them will just have one things running under them and some will have several things (hopefully all legitimate XP services) and some will have a lot of things.  

If you have a svchost Process that is afflicted, what is running under your afflicted one?

No running process should defy reasonable explanation.

First, see what you can find out using Process Explorer and then if nothing is obvious, look at other things.

 

 


Do, or do not. There is no try.

I need YOUR votes and points for helpful replies and Propose as Answers. I am saving up for a pony!

fyip
Found this helpful 0
fyip replied on
If you check the Processes Tab it will tell you exactally which processes (programs) are using high CPU Usage. Also, put a check in the box "Show processes from all users" if there are more users on your system. You can right click and end the "Programs" causing this, END PROCESS DOES NOT REMOVE THE PROGRAMS FROM YOUR SYSTEM, and if the program is not wanted or needed uninstall it from your system, your choice!
A. User
Found this helpful 1
Answer
A. User replied on

What is your system make and model?

You might be able to get some clues using about what is going on using Task Manager and maybe figure it out.

You will always figure out what is going on if you use Process Explorer.

Download Process Explorer so you can see what is "really" running on your system, especially behind those multiple svchosts you see running in Task Manager. 

Download Process Explorer from here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx

You'll like Process Explorer when you get the hang of it.  Process Explorer is the Windows Task Manager on steroids.  

Process Explorer installs nothing so it will not slow your system down since it only runs on demand.  

Process Explorer may look a little intimidating at first since it presents so much information, but you will start to get to like the way it works when you are looking for performance problems.   You can even tell PE that you want it to be your new default "Task Manager" from now on.  You can still run the original Task Manger too.

Once you get Process Explorer running, expand the columns, drag the corners of the display to make it bigger, etc. so you can see the most information as possible in the window.  Now you can really see everything that is running on the system.

Here is a screenshot of my system when I use Process Explorer:

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/2567/processexplorer.png

The CPU column is usually the most interesting to get started with performance issues - who is using the most? 

It is okay and normal to have multiple svchost processes running, but sometimes malicious software will hide behind them since the malicious software knows you will not be able to spot it in Task Manager.  

Malicious software can also disguise itself to appear to be a legitimate XP Process or it could hide under/behind other Processes that you see running in Task Manager so you cannot see it running.

The malicious software would like to fool you into thinking that you need to use a System Restore Point, perform a Repair Install or reinstall your XP from scratch when you really don't have to.

When looking at the display in Process Explorer, you would like the most CPU to be associated with System Idle Process.  That is the "free time" on your system so the more free time it has, the better.  

If you look at the performance graphs and see red spikes (or not) double click the graph in the top left corner to display the usage graph.  Hover the mouse over any spikes to see what causes them.  Even if the spike has already scrolled past in the display, you can still hover the mouse over the spike to see what caused it.  You can also just wait for a spike to occur and then see what caused the spike.

To help understand your svchost processes and what is running beneath them, read this article and you will be smarter than the average bear:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum56.html

Then with some Googling, you can look at each thing running in PE and behind your svchost processes and see what it is and decide if your configuration needs it or not and then decide what to do about it.  

If you think you have one svchost.exe Process that have run amok, using PE, you can right click that offensive svchost, Properties and on the Services and Threads tab you can see what is running under it.  

There is a CPU column that will need widening (make the column wider) so you can see CPU.  Perhaps you can spot which background process is consuming so much CPU under the svchost.exe process.   Look around under the svchost processes and you will find it.  

You can also see what is running under every svchost just by hovering your mouse over the svchost.exe process.  Some of them will just have one things running under them and some will have several things (hopefully all legitimate XP services) and some will have a lot of things.  

If you have a svchost Process that is afflicted, what is running under your afflicted one?

No running process should defy reasonable explanation.

First, see what you can find out using Process Explorer and then if nothing is obvious, look at other things.

 

 


Do, or do not. There is no try.

I need YOUR votes and points for helpful replies and Propose as Answers. I am saving up for a pony!