Unexplained high CPU utilization

System: hp dc7700 ultra slim w/C2D e6300 chip 1.86GHz, 3GB RAM, Win7 64 bit

I had to clean a browser hijacker (trovi) off of my system a few days ago after downloading video editing sw from download.com (!). Cleaned the system with Superantispyware and Malwarebytes (Avira AV didn't see it). Since then, my system has run kind of slow, but last night it was getting bad, so I looked at task manager which showed CPU utilization in the 60%'s with no applications running. The Processes tab didn't show anything taking more than 1% including "processes from all users."

So, I tried booting in Safe Mode to avoid the startup programs and the CPU was still running at 26%, which makes me think something is up. I kicked off another Avira scan in safe mode this morning and will see the results this afternoon, but any suggestions before then? Prior to the "infection" I was running around 1-2% in idle (non-safe mode).
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  1. You're sure Windows Update is downloading or installing updates?

    If you really think it's a virus infection, here's my process.

    I add/remove any and all suspect programs using Revo Uninstaller Pro. I use that because usually there are programs that you want to get rid of that don't have an uninstaller attached to them, or it's corrupted, or simply doesn't work.

    I then run MalwareBytes and remove whatever it finds.

    Then I run Glary Utilities "1-Click Maintenance" with everything checked. Repair whatever it finds.

    Then I run Combofix.

    Then, finally, I run Hitman Pro to fish out whatever the entire process until then missed.

    99/100 that takes care of any and all virus infection, repairs any registry errors, and cleans up anything hiding in your temp files.

    I happen to think it's something unrelated to a virus, but just to be sure, I'd run through those steps.
  2. I am carrying out your steps jobcreator. I grabbed a snippit but can't paste it here - shows 70% cpu utilization with System idle using 75%. Um... anyway, ran ccleaner and it didn't help, and avira and superantispyware didn't find anything. Will run malwarebytes again this evening and see what it finds tomorrow morning. Thanks for your help.

    Forgot to include - you said "I happen to think it's something unrelated to a virus, but just to be sure, I'd run through those steps." - care to share your thoughts?
    ;)
  3. OK - I ran

    Revo, Malwarebytes, Glary, Combofix, and Hitman Pro 64-bit. As you suspected - nothing. I looked at the new files log from Combofix and there was nothing suspicious on the day it "happened." Just the videoeditor program and the amazon cloud player I installed. Funny...I guess the trovi hijacker was erased, as that should have shown up.

    I also looked as ProcMon...but, honestly, that's just too much info. I didn't see anything unexpected...though don't know what to expect.

    So - curious what you think it could be, not related to a virus.

    (and as I type this in safe mode with only chrome and a notepad running, cpu util is 56% while system idle process says 99%.
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