Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Lots of CPU activity on start-up

Tags:
  • CPUs
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
Share
May 13, 2010 2:23:53 AM

Don't know where else to put this.

I have a 6-7 year old NEC Lavie laptop at home. Japanese OS and XP with full memory added.

Upon start-up, the hard drive is very active, almost solid light on the indicator, for about 20 minutes. A look at the Task Manager doesn't really reveal much to explain why. The graph of CPU activity shows lots of peaks at 70-100% during all this time, even when I only have one Internet page open or one Word document open, and I'm not doing anything.

Task Manager says the Client Server, Firefox (latest version always), and the System Idle Process are using the most CPU. One or two other files use less than 5%. Firefox shows about 115,000 Kb at this time; I don't know if that's normal or too high. I don't add any plug-ins.

I do a regular (weekly or twice monthly) antivirus (Avast) update, scan, and cleanup as well as Malwarebytes anti-spyware scan and cleanup. Neither shows any infections 99% of the time.

Any suggestions or questions? Thank in advance.

More about : lots cpu activity start

May 15, 2010 7:03:16 AM

Use only one antivirus, multiple security systems will slow the system down. The minimum antivirus is Norton 360. Make sure the system has at least 1 GB of memory. Delete any applications that are unused. 115,000 is normal for firefox. Go to my computer,control panel,add remove software, and see what applications are installed. delete any unnecessary applications. Go to my computer, local disk C, documents and settings, your name, cookies, look in the cookies folder, delete all cookies except for the folder marked index. Many old computers have like, 2000 cookies running and you don't need any of them. Many old computers have 2 or 3 media players installed like real player, ms media player, delete all except for one of them. many computers have more than one security application, delete all but one. In most cases, I can delete at least 10 applications which are not being used at all, or are duplicate applications that are not needed. Another thing that slows down a system is microsoft .NET framework. If you do not have a digital camera or video recorder, delete it. Now you are seeing the idea, the less applications running, the faster the computer boots.
m
0
l
May 22, 2010 4:24:24 AM

I am using only one antivirus program. Norton has been stripped off my computer because it is too much of a memory hog and slows my computer down.

Remove unncessary applications? I'd be glad to if you could help me identify what those are. I've done what I can so far, but who can say what hidden programs lurk?

I have maxed out the amount of RAM (750 mB, I believe), and the hard drive has over 30 GB free.

Will delete the cookies as you recommended.

Would like advice on how to remove Real Player. It seems there are always remnants left behind.

Don't know what you mean by "security application" to be removed.

Thanks for now.
m
0
l
Related resources
May 22, 2010 5:02:25 AM

click my computer
click control panel
click add remove software
what is on the list?

Panda internet security will have less load on the system resources than norton. Use two 512 MB memory sticks. multiple security apps are like system cleaners, spyware detectors, etc...Can you defragment your drive after removing excess programs? Well, if it's an old system you could just spend a lot of time and not make alot of progress, but if you have the original operating system disk, and the driver disks, there is usually a way to make some improvements.
m
0
l
May 22, 2010 12:37:15 PM

I'm satisfied with my antivirus software, so I don't want to use Panda. I don't understand what you mean by using memory sticks.

I have defragged my system recently. It really seemed to need it, but I hardly noticed any change in speed.

Yes, it's an old system and I have original system disks, but I don't understand what you mean about driver disks.
m
0
l
May 22, 2010 6:47:53 PM

If you look at the list in add remove software, you can figure out which applications can be deleted to free up system resources and decrease hard drive activity.
I was talking about doing a repair install of XP without reformatting the drive, without losing personal files. To do that you need the OS disk and the driver disks, this can help clear out and clean up the operating system, again decreasing the drive activity.
The memory sticks are just intended to bring the RAM up to 1 GB, and 1GB is really the minimum that should be used with XP system. This again decreases the hard drive activity start up time.
A single security solution that scans downloads, deletes spyware cookies, blocks incoming connections, neutralizes malware, blocks adware is also a very beneficial addition, compared to using a patch work of mis-matched security downloads. Right now there are a variety of sources unknown to you, installing all kinds of stuff in your system, and the security I suggested stops that entirely.
Deleting cookies can also be a great advantage to free up system resources. Defrag is also a contributing advantage. But it's not just any one thing, it's an effort to go through the entire system and do housekeeping, doing many things that results in the decreased drive activity and increased speed of an older system. And to accomplish that end, the willingness to do all of it.
m
0
l
May 23, 2010 3:23:40 AM

I already have the computer set to clear out cookies upon shutdown, so there aren't any there upon start-up.

I'm not sure how to use memory sticks for the extra memory you describe. Plus, why would computers be made like mine with a max less than 1 GB RAM if you say they need a minimum of that?

Cleaning the computer of unnecessary programs is not as easy as you say. I don't know what is truly unnecessary, and I'm sure there are plenty of programs there from old things like AOL (which is deleted) that clutter up the drive but are not visible on Add Remove Software.

What single security system does all those things you said? From what I have read, none really fit that description. That's why I have a separate one for antivirus and malware. Does Panda do it all?

And, I don't have a clue what a "repair install of XP" entails. I'm sorry, but much of what you describe is beyond a regular user like myself.

I have an additional question or 2.

1) Does having a lot of icons on the desktop slow start-up?
2) Does a lot of bookmarks slow start-up? (I use XMarks to have bookmarks from home and office computer available.)

Thanks again.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
May 23, 2010 6:12:51 AM

See my post here. There are several useful tools to help clean up your system.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/247371-45-problem-def...

Your RAM is a bit low for running XP. However, as old as it is, it's probably not worth trying to upgrade. Old RAM can be pretty expensive.

Download ccleaner. Click on the tools tab. Click the startup button. Press ctrl+prtscrn. Open word or wordpad, and press shift+insert. This will take a screen shot of your startup programs. Save the document. Go to http://imageshack.us/ and upload the document. After it uploads, copy the 'forum' code, and paste it here. I'll check it out, and try to help you figure out what you do and don't need starting up with windows.

Yes, lots and large files on the desktop can slow down the startup process. Your PC has to load all that data when it starts up. So if you have large files, try moving them to another folder, such as, the 'my documents' folder, and placing a shortcut on the desktop instead.
m
0
l
May 23, 2010 8:10:32 AM

The RAM on my computer is the max I can put on it, so I don't know why you are saying it is a bit low. I can't put any more on!

Thanks for the tip about desktop folders and CCleaner. I have used CCleaner in the past but have forgotten about it. How often do you recommend using it?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
May 23, 2010 4:11:08 PM

I use ccleaner about every other month, unless I think I have some issues that need tidying up.

The reason that RAM was mentioned, is because it's good practice to have at least 1GB to run XP smoothly. Often times, smaller RAM chips, can be removed and replaced with larger capacity ones. You don't always need more slots, sometimes, just larger RAM chips. However, as I mentioned, older RAM can be very expensive. It's probably not a viable option.
m
0
l
May 23, 2010 4:48:09 PM

Some of the cookies remain when the system is set to clear the folder. Some of the cookies allow display of images, others plant spy ware.
Yesterday my security blocked 18 unauthorized connection attempts, 1 unauthorized port scan, it updated threat signatures, there are over 60,000 of them, it updated identity protection twice, it updated file modification signatures, and it will do this every day as required. This is the stuff that is going into your system unhindered. But also, the protection is all in 1 matched application that does not conflict with other functions and other applications, therefore it boots and runs faster, uses less system resources than 2 or more mismatched applications that you are using now.
Also, I do not need microsoft updates, which bog the system down and clutter the drive and resources at start up, slowing the OS down to a crawl. My system runs better and has no problem with attacks, without any of these MS updates. Turning off the updates is one of the best things I have done for my system.
The RAM you have installed is three sticks of 256 MB, you could replace them with 2 or 3 sticks of 512 MB. The difference is noticeable. The sticks cost about $20-30 each, if you shop around. This is one of the first things I do when I am setting up an older system to run faster.
Now to drive home this point, run this scan:
http://www. pandasecurity.com /homeusers/ solutions/activescan/
remove the spaces from that link before copy and paste into your browser. You will see just what is planted in your system and what your current mismatched security is failing to detect.
Yes you can delete AOL, Real Player, etc and other nonsensical junk from your registry, from your programs folder. AOL is a really poor function to have running in your system. You will notice AOL running in processes after it has been deleted from add remove software list.
Another thing that eats up system resources is .NET framework. If you do not use a digital camera plugged into your computer, you can delete that too.
If you want to have a look at other nonsense running in your system, download ms process explorer. You can shut down processes at will, and decide which ones to kill. After deciding you can delete process explorer.

m
0
l
May 23, 2010 5:36:58 PM

Glenski said:
Don't know where else to put this.

I have a 6-7 year old NEC Lavie laptop at home. Japanese OS and XP with full memory added.

Upon start-up, the hard drive is very active, almost solid light on the indicator, for about 20 minutes. A look at the Task Manager doesn't really reveal much to explain why. The graph of CPU activity shows lots of peaks at 70-100% during all this time, even when I only have one Internet page open or one Word document open, and I'm not doing anything.

Task Manager says the Client Server, Firefox (latest version always), and the System Idle Process are using the most CPU. One or two other files use less than 5%. Firefox shows about 115,000 Kb at this time; I don't know if that's normal or too high. I don't add any plug-ins.

I do a regular (weekly or twice monthly) antivirus (Avast) update, scan, and cleanup as well as Malwarebytes anti-spyware scan and cleanup. Neither shows any infections 99% of the time.

Any suggestions or questions? Thank in advance.


And now a quote from Google Inc.:
"Google says its automated scans of the Internet recently turned up malware on roughly 300,000 Web sites, double the number it recorded two years ago. Each site can contain many infected pages. Meanwhile, Malware doubled last year, to 240 million unique attacks, according to Symantec, a maker of security software. And that does not count the scourge of fake antivirus software and other scams".
m
0
l
May 25, 2010 1:27:17 PM

aford,
I followed all your instructions on CCleaner up to the point about ImageShack. I've opened it, but it doesn't upload any Word files, just images (hence the name ImageShack, I guess). I have no idea what a "forum code" is, either.

CCleaner itself did a lot of tidying up, though!

I just cleaned a bunch of stuff off my desktop, but ran into a problem. I copy/pasted folders of pics and videos from the desktop to a CD-R where I have other stuff like that. After I arranged it all, I tried to burn it onto the disk, but I got an error message saying there WAS no disk! Rebooted a couple of times, inserted and reinserted the disk, too, to no avail. It doesn't recognize the disk anymore. Have I just lost all those files?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
May 25, 2010 1:57:08 PM

Glenski said:
aford,
I followed all your instructions on CCleaner up to the point about ImageShack. I've opened it, but it doesn't upload any Word files, just images (hence the name ImageShack, I guess).


You're right. Instead of word or wordpad, paste the screenshot into the Microsoft picture manager, paint, or some other image document.

Once you upload the image, there are codes listed under it. One will be titled as 'forum code.' All you need to do is copy, and paste that code here.

Did you click the button to burn the files to disc? If not, they may still be waiting there to be burned. Also, if you just copy and pasted them, the originals will still be where they were.
m
0
l
May 29, 2010 12:31:57 PM

aford,
Sorry for the delay. Things have been very busy here.
I have uploaded the image you wanted. Here is the forum code.


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Thanks for looking at this.

As for my strange disk problem, yes, I tried clicking the button/command to burn them onto the disk. Have done it many times before and with the same type of disk. Things have gotten worse. The computer no longer even identifies the name of any disk I put in, whether homemade or commercial DVD. Very strange. When I try to go through the commands for burning copied/pasted items, it says I don't have a disk inserted! It even says a completely new disk is full! Oddly enough, I was able to look at the contents of the disks, including the one I want to add stuff to, and I just removed everything as a safety factor. I'll deal with them later, but for now, I just want to use the drive! Any advice here?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
May 29, 2010 3:42:51 PM

I think you can safely disable the following startup items:

kernel fault check
sun java update scheduler
adobe arm
adobe reader speed launcher

There are several other items in there that I'm suspicious of. They could be valid system processes, or they could be masked malware.

I would really recommend you run a malware scan. I know you frequently run scans, however malware will typically suppress your scanners first. There are far less services and programs that start in safe mode, so that is the best place to run scans.

Boot into safe mode with networking. Update malwarebytes, and do a full system scan. Then repeat with Avast.
m
0
l
May 29, 2010 3:55:07 PM

If the system no longer recognizes an inserted disk, do this procedure, and follow the directions exactly:
1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3. In the navigation pane, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
4. In the right pane, click UpperFilters.

Note You may also see an UpperFilters.bak registry entry. You do not have to remove that entry. Click UpperFilters only. If you do not see the UpperFilters registry entry, you still might have to remove the LowerFilters registry entry. To do this, go to step 7.
5. On the Edit menu, click Delete.
6. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes.
7. In the right pane, click LowerFilters.

Note If you do not see the LowerFilters registry entry, unfortunately this content cannot help you any further.
8. On the Edit menu, click Delete.
9. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes.
10. Exit Registry Editor.
11. Restart the computer.

In the case you have described, I would back up all the personal files, Do a fresh install of the operating system, reload the backed up personal files, reload the motherboard drivers and peripheral drivers.
That cleans out all the accumulated unwanted stuff that bogs the OS down, and gives it a fresh start.
Suspect that loss of drive disk detection was caused by OS automatic updates. Therefore recommend shutting off OS automatic updates from now on.
Recommend security such as Norton 360, which is an improved version that does not hog the memory like previous versions, although you are a bit short on memory, and it would not be a bad idea to install three 512 RAM sticks instead of whats in there now, about $70 if you shop around.
People would consider a replacement system compared to what you have now, but any decent replacement is going to cost about $1000-$1200 for say, a quad core setup, as compared to re-doing the older system and using it for another 2-4 years. But from where I sit, it was worth it to upgrade to a quad core now as opposed to fighting the obsolete slow hardware. In a quad core system the OS boots the entire package in 30 seconds, and you have the added HD video, etc...
m
0
l
June 1, 2010 11:33:20 AM

soundguruman,
I did steps 1-4, saw not upper filters, so skipped 5 and 6, then did 7-11.

No change in my situation. In fact, now there is actually no increase in the drive speed (loud hum and fan noise increase) as there normally would upon inserting a homemade disk, just a flurry of HD activity. When I put in a commercial DVD, it just sits there and does nothing. No increase in fan or drive motor, no HD activity. No recognition of the disk name at all. When I click on the drive, though, I can see in the commercial one 2 folders (audio TS and video TS). That's it and not the way I would normally play a DVD.

As for backing up personal files, I can't do that because the computer doesn't let me store anything on a disk, as you know. I wouldn't even begin to know how to reload motherboard drivers!

aford,
Will do a Safe Mode Malwarebytes scan soon.
m
0
l
June 1, 2010 4:16:30 PM

Then it would seem a good decision to (repair or full) reinstall the operating system after backing up all the personal files. That will reinstall all the defaults and clear out mountains of accumulated crud. You can be sure that after doing that, the disks will be recognized. Hopefully you have the original operating system disk, the computer drivers disk, your peripheral disks. You can do a repair install without reformatting, or the full install with reformatting. As soon as you put the operating system in the drive and start the computer, it loads temporary drivers, so that the drive will function during the install. After the install you can expect to load some drivers back in the system.
An alternative if you do not have the disks is to use system restore and knock the drive back to a much earlier date, long before the problems started.
An alternate personal files back up, without a drive, is to use an online backup service such as Mozy, where the first 2 GB are free. It seems like that would be a really good idea for this computer. Since that does not cost anything I would do that now.
In the case of a repair or full install, and you do not have the driver disk, you can download the drivers from the motherboard manufacturer's website.
It's really not so bad to do a repair install on an older computer. You will notice that it runs better afterwords. And you will likely have pretty smooth sailing for another couple years.
But two things I would definitely do before the repair install is-- run the malware scans, get the offenders cleaned out--backup the personal files.
m
0
l
June 5, 2010 3:52:58 AM

I just updated Malwarebytes, then opened it in Safe Mode and ran a full scan. It found only one item (a Rootkit Agent), which I removed. In the past half dozen scans over the past 2-3 months, Malwarebytes (not in Safe Mode) has found something similar only twice to my knowledge. Otherwise it finds nothing. I'll try to remember to do such scans only in Safe Mode in the future.

Will update Avast and run a virus scan in Safe Mode today.

Uh, how do I disable these?
kernel fault check
sun java update scheduler
adobe arm
adobe reader speed launcher

Thanks again.
Glenski
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2010 4:16:51 AM

Glenski said:

Uh, how do I disable these?
kernel fault check
sun java update scheduler
adobe arm
adobe reader speed launcher


Open ccleaner to the tab pictured above. Highlight those specific services, and click the disable button to the right.
m
0
l
June 5, 2010 9:58:57 AM

OK, will do that.

Just finished a virus scan with Avast in Safe Mode after updating its files. Highest possible sensitivity took over 5 hours. No viruses found.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 5, 2010 2:18:19 PM

Since malwarebytes removed a rootkit, you may want to run the ccleaner registry cleaner. Malware can screw with your registry settings.
m
0
l
June 5, 2010 11:11:40 PM

Ok, I ran CCleaner again and rebooted. There was still about 10-12 minutes of hard drive activity. I logged it and posted the graph on ImageShack.


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

I started logging about 2 minutes after the reboot started, so that we could ignore normal drive activity, including the link to my Buffalo wireless bridge station. I started Firefox, and had to wait almost 3 minutes before it loaded the default page (Yahoo). What you see in the graph is a few spikes of Firefox loading, but that ended where the biggest trough in the graph can be seen, roughly in the first third of the graph. After that, all I did was sit and watch with Yahoo homepage on screen. Hard drive constantly ran and generated that wide group of peaks, and you can see the >100% spikes despite me doing absolutely NOTHING. After 10-12 minutes it settled down (after the graph portion that I copied) to the normal 15-20% activity for background (not shown).

I don't really see as everything I've done has made any improvement, although I appreciate the advice on using Safe Mode and CCleaner, which I will continue to do in future regular cleanups.

Do you have any other options other than the drastic reinstallation of the OS?
m
0
l
June 6, 2010 12:17:55 AM

install of OS is not that drastic but you will need to reload the drivers, which you can download.
Just back up your personal files and take the opportunity to clean out the accumulated junk in the system.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 6, 2010 3:00:09 AM

When you see the CPU activity pictured above, look at the processes tab, and find out which processes are running, other than the system idle process.

The specific process(es) should tell you what is running and bogging down the system.
m
0
l
June 6, 2010 8:03:57 AM

After starting the computer, I waited until the bridge had connected, then looked at task manager for which processes had any activity.

cmdagent.exe
TANGOM~1.EXE
svchost.exe
ClientMgr2.exe
ashServ.exe
avast.setup
wuauclt.exe
ashWebSv.exe
explorer.exe
wmiprvse.exe
taskmgr.exe
cfpupdat.exe
lsass.exe
System

There may have been a few more, but they were hard to catch with 1-sec updates. I stopped when the hard drive activity seemed to have calmed down, which was long after the graphic display has leveled off.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 6, 2010 1:56:51 PM

Several of those processes are related to Avast. Try disabling or uninstalling Avast, then restart. Does it still do the same thing?
m
0
l
June 7, 2010 12:03:08 PM

I started the computer and got onto the Internet. About 10 minutes later, the HD light was showing constant activity, so I checked Task Manager and waited a moment. CPU activity showed a steady near-flat curve around 15-20%, despite all this activity. I disabled (paused) all of Avast's processes and this continued unabated. Task manager showed no real change in what programs were being accessed compared to before.

Not sure if this is what you meant to do.
m
0
l
June 15, 2010 11:45:38 AM

I just uninstalled Avast. After rebooting, I watched the HD activity and Task Manager. Didn't really see any difference. During the first 10 minutes of restart, I tracked System Idle Process' CPU activity. Anything from 0 to 99%. No new programs seem to be active.

What now?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 15, 2010 12:09:42 PM

The system idle process should be using upwards of 99%. That's where your CPU usage goes when nothing else is running.

If you've disabled those non-essential startup programs, ran the malware check, and done the system optimization, there's not much more you can do. You are limited by the PC resources.

About the only other things that can cause this, are failing hardware, and needing driver updates. You can try running a chkdsk and system file check to verify the integrity of the hard drive and system files.
start-->run-->chkdsk /r
start-->run-->sfc /scannow

Other than that, and updating all your drivers, short of a windows reinstall, there's not much you can do.
m
0
l
June 15, 2010 12:41:54 PM

I figured that's what system idle process should be doing, but there always seemed to be half a dozen other things tapping CPU.

I just ran CCleaner
Then I ran Malwarebytes again in Safe Mode. Found the Rootkit Agent again.
I also cleaned out QuickTime and a couple of other items I felt were nonessential. Noticed something called CDK Players and a quick search showed it is malware which slows down systems, but I cannot remove it.

Will do those integrity verifications right now and report.
m
0
l
June 15, 2010 12:51:14 PM

Tried running chkdsk.
Typed "chkdsk /r" first but got a question (which I can't read because it's in Japanese) instead of activity, so I started again with just chkdsk. It completed "stage 1/3" all right, but couldn't get past 0% on stage 2, so I terminated that.

Any ideas?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
June 15, 2010 2:06:36 PM

Try running chkdsk with the /r switch. The question is just asking "Y or N ?" on if you want to schedule the chkdsk for the next time you restart. Press "Y" and hit enter. Then the next time you restart, it will run the chkdsk, and try to repair any damaged sectors it finds. If the regular chkdsk scan couldn't get past stage 2, you may have some damage.

If malwarebytes is finding malware repeatedly, it may only be catching a symptom of the disease. Try downloading, and running combofix and SuperAntispyware.
m
0
l
!