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100% CPU Vista, just reformatted... Help!

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September 28, 2008 6:50:15 PM

Hey,

I am at the end of my rope here and would really appreciate some help. Two days ago while running Microsoft OneNote my comp spiked up to 100% CPU usage and refused to go back down. Ever since then it has been running at 100%. I ran the free online scan for Kaspersky and found 35 trojans. I attempted to remove them manually but the folders they were supposed to be in (Symantec) had disappeared. I ran several other virus programs (Symantec, Panda, AVG...at different times, mind you) and couldn't find them. I eventually got fed up and reformatted the entire hard drive today, the C: drive and D: drive (RECOVERY). I reinstalled Vista, and lo and behold I still have 100% CPU usage. There are no programs running, nor are there any processes that take up more than 15%. I don't understand how it could be running 100%, especially considering the only thing on the computer is Vista. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
a c 113 à CPUs
September 28, 2008 7:10:00 PM

Can you sort processes by CPU utilization and tell us which ones are using the CPU?
September 28, 2008 7:15:42 PM

what process does your task manager indicate is using 100% ?
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September 28, 2008 9:17:30 PM

You could of just used a system restore point and been able to keep all your data. I had a virus too on vista ultimate 64-bit, had alot of trouble trying to get it out.

Chances are the virus is still there, using any usb keys?
September 28, 2008 9:34:10 PM

+1 for what tasks are indicating the cpu is 100%, could you list system specs?
September 28, 2008 9:56:49 PM

Pirated version of Vista? You probably got a knockoff trojan one....
September 28, 2008 10:21:18 PM

This is Vista from Dell, so I know its not pirated. The computer runs fine after bootup for about 3 minutes, then the CPU kicks up to 100% and stays there. The processes running are as follows:

iexplore: 15%
Dwm: 10%
tskmgr:5%

and thats it, the rest are 0%. Somehow the comp still runs at 100% though. I tried doing a system restore, but to no avail. Anyhoo, I think I am just going to have to bite the bullet and purchase Kaspersky and hope for the best.

Comp is Intel Core Duo T2250 @ 1.73 Ghz, 1 gig RAM, ATI Radeon X1400

Keep in mind that this computer ran fine for a year and a half and just started running like complete crap (100%) just three days ago.

Any ideas/advice?
a b à CPUs
September 28, 2008 10:46:49 PM

You did check the box that says "Show Processes From All Users" right?
September 29, 2008 12:29:42 AM

Yes, there are many more processes when i click that button but all of them show a 0% CPU usage. I am currently running Kaspersky and am not finding any trojans thus far...what else could cause this problem? Could this be a hardware problem?

In short: 100% CPU usage with no programs running, just reformatted hard drive so all viruses SHOULD be gone, in the processes menu under Control-Shift-Esc. the numbers don't add up to 100%, more like 60% CPU usage even after 'showing processes from all users'
September 29, 2008 12:41:27 AM

try removing everything from start-up (by typing msconfig in the run dialog box and un-checking everything under the startup tab). also disable file indexing and do a windows update (including installation).
a c 113 à CPUs
September 29, 2008 2:13:16 AM

Is System Idle Process 0%? What are the Physical Memory and Commit Charge Total and Peak?
September 29, 2008 3:03:42 AM

Curiously, do you notice any system degradation when it spikes to 100%?

Does anything seem to run "slower" - or is it just that the monitor shows 100%?
September 29, 2008 3:49:00 AM

mhd1104 said:
This is Vista from Dell, so I know its not pirated. The computer runs fine after bootup for about 3 minutes, then the CPU kicks up to 100% and stays there. The processes running are as follows:

iexplore: 15%
Dwm: 10%
tskmgr:5%

and thats it, the rest are 0%. Somehow the comp still runs at 100% though. I tried doing a system restore, but to no avail. Anyhoo, I think I am just going to have to bite the bullet and purchase Kaspersky and hope for the best.

Comp is Intel Core Duo T2250 @ 1.73 Ghz, 1 gig RAM, ATI Radeon X1400

Keep in mind that this computer ran fine for a year and a half and just started running like complete crap (100%) just three days ago.

Any ideas/advice?


Kaspersky is good (very good, actually...) but it is not the end-all be-all of AV programs. There are some trojans / rootkits that are very good at hiding themselves (Sony CD drm comes to mind). Vista install does not have a low level format utility. Your drive MFG should have a bootable utility that will do the job, but I am not sure how Dell's Vista disc will like that.

If your CPU is at 100%, and your system idle process is at 0%, you do have a process running that is hiding quite well. I'd make a call to Dell first, but I'd recommend a low level format.
a b à CPUs
September 29, 2008 10:40:35 AM

Have you looked on the resource monitor? That can give a clearer indication of what's running. It will also tell you how much resources services are taking up (although not a breakdown)
September 29, 2008 11:15:24 AM

Perhaps Process Explorer will work on Vista:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
I use it as a Task Manager replacement in Windows XP x64 as the builtin one is sh**... :sol: 

Process Explorer will show you the CPU interrupt loading. If this is spiking up too high it could indicate that you have a bad driver installed, etc.

Bob
September 29, 2008 4:04:03 PM

I understand why you guys think that a process is running in the background that is taking up CPU usage, but I just reformatted every drive on the computer yesterday. The only thing I have installed on the computer are Windows Vista and Kaspersky AV. How could there possible be other programs running if I just wiped out everything on the hard drive? Also, yes, there is a massive slowdown from this CPU usage. My open windows constantly get the 'not responding' message and take a minute or two to do anything.

As you might guess, this is getting extremely frustrating. I think I am going to reformat again later today. Is there any way I could have a damaged processor? The fan is running constantly when the CPU registers 100%...maybe the fan is not cooling the processor well enough? Should I just call Dell and have them deal with it? :( 

Thanks again for the help.
a c 113 à CPUs
September 29, 2008 4:34:53 PM

Reformatting again won't help if you already did it. After reinstalling the OS, did it work properly before you installed Kaspersky? The CPU can't be 100% busy if all processes and the kernel are idle (and that's why I asked for info that you didn't provide). There are several reasons why you could have that issue.
a b à CPUs
September 29, 2008 5:38:04 PM

Maybe it's a HDD issue, have you checked the SMART-status of your HDDs or checked them for errors/bad sectors. Do you hear any clickety-click-click kind of noise when it slows down?

When mine was failing it would work fine for about 5 minutes until it warmed up, then it would just froze for a while every now and then. I didn't check the CPU usage though...
September 29, 2008 7:46:52 PM

Kari said:
Maybe it's a HDD issue, have you checked the SMART-status of your HDDs or checked them for errors/bad sectors. Do you hear any clickety-click-click kind of noise when it slows down?

When mine was failing it would work fine for about 5 minutes until it warmed up, then it would just froze for a while every now and then. I didn't check the CPU usage though...


Great point.

What are your machine specs? Is it a name brand or custom build?

Many name-branders have built in utility partitions in addition to SMART options in the BIOS.
September 29, 2008 9:09:51 PM

It's a Dell, I just spoke with them and we did a system diagnostic that told me that the hard drive is fine. The Dell guy didn't know what the problem was, he just told me to "buy more RAM". I was furious about that because the computer worked just fine for a year and a half with 1 gig of RAM, so what, did it just decide that a gig wasn't enough anymore?

Anyway, I just reformatted the hard drive (again) and the CPU maxed out before Windows even finished installing. I can tell the CPU goes to 100% because every last fan in the machine turns on. I looked at the running processes (on all users) and it adds up to roughly 40% of CPU, but the CPU is maxed out somehow. I have not reinstalled any of the Dell drivers because the computer is too slow to do so. Moral of the story: Dell can't help me, reformatting isn't helping me, Kaspersky says I don't have any viruses or spyware, etc.

I think I am just screwed.
a c 113 à CPUs
September 29, 2008 9:41:01 PM

Let me basically ask the same questions again. You alreday told us that if you sort by descending CPU utilization, the total (excluding System Idle Process) is less than 100%.

- Is System Idle Process 0%? Based on previous answers, I assume so, but I'd like you to confirm.
- How many processes are running and what is the commit charge?
- Could you click the Performance tab and post that info?
- In System Properties, General tab, what does it say under "Computer:"?
September 29, 2008 10:21:28 PM

Just a note: the computer runs GREAT for about a minute after bootup. After roughly a minute anything I do (open IE, open a folder, etc.) will immediately cause the CPU usage to jump to 100% and turn all the fans on.

Well, I think I may have found the problem. svchost.exe is taking up a considerable amount of CPU. Anyone have any ideas as to how to get rid of this problem?
September 29, 2008 10:50:09 PM

mhd1104 said:


Well, I think I may have found the problem. svchost.exe is taking up a considerable amount of CPU. Anyone have any ideas as to how to get rid of this problem?


OK so its one of the svchost.exe instances that is taking all the CPU cycles - right? It is just a wrapper for dynamic link libraries in Windows. This allows code reuse between all the different processes running (since only one copy of the .dll will be loaded into the code pages in RAM/cache).

In Process Explorer right click on the svchost.exe causing the problems... What services are associated with that process? Can you please post them here?? (Screenshoot would be fine.)

Bob
September 29, 2008 11:19:48 PM

Hey guys, this problem has just gotten the best of me...I think I have to send it back to Dell. Thanks for all the advice so far, but I am just going to let Dell replace my hard drive and get a fresh copy of Windows, this clearly isn't working. I appreciate everything!

Michael
September 30, 2008 12:14:55 AM

UpgradeDowngrade to Windows XP...?? :sol: 

Bob
September 30, 2008 1:18:28 PM

croc said:
Kaspersky is good (very good, actually...) but it is not the end-all be-all of AV programs. There are some trojans / rootkits that are very good at hiding themselves (Sony CD drm comes to mind). Vista install does not have a low level format utility. Your drive MFG should have a bootable utility that will do the job, but I am not sure how Dell's Vista disc will like that.

If your CPU is at 100%, and your system idle process is at 0%, you do have a process running that is hiding quite well. I'd make a call to Dell first, but I'd recommend a low level format.


I do like your tactic, really do. But its way too much aggressive. And you forgot to mention he should use a Interleave factor of zero. Or he would lose HDD space. And a low-level format on a big disc (160gb or more) would take a week....give or take a few hours.

Now going for a more, rational stance.

You might have some malware hidden. Malware can hid itself everywhere for the exception of you granny socks. Your probably using the recovery partition from you Dell. This explains why after formatting the problem is there.

I would check that link about svhost. There is a crap load of processes hidden there.

Another thing is unplug you PC from the internet. An of us who recall the Blaster Worm would say that would make sense.A anti-virus is just that. Anti-Virus. I use Avast witch i consider a excellent AV. But i have Spybot and Adaware from Lavasoft aswell. And of course NoScript in my firefox.

Don't send your PC to dell. Reformat it. With only the KB,Mouse and monitor plugged. I bet the problem will disappear.
And will appear again the moment you plug the network cable.


October 9, 2008 1:06:04 PM

mhd1104 said:
...he just told me to "buy more RAM"...


I find it fascinating that the majority of hardware vendors think the solution to any problem is to throw more hardware at it. More so when it's their computer they sold you.

So I guess they're now saying the P.O.S. computer they sold you in the first place didn't have enough RAM to begin with... :pt1cable:  :pt1cable:  :pt1cable: 

AJ
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 29, 2008 9:21:50 AM

Hi Guyz,

I have got the exact same problem discussed here. I have Dell XPS M1330 which I bought 3 months ago. It has Windows Vista Premium.
I, too, got the same problem arising all of a sudden and persisting ever since. After startup my laptop works fine untill I open any application.... any! As soon as I open anything (my comp, control panel, etc) cpu usage just goes crazy without any particular process screwing up!!!!

Should I also send my Laptop to Dell or should I try reformatting it!!!

NS
December 29, 2008 12:39:55 PM

Everybody is focusing on a software problem and forgetting the hardware. Forget Dell and there buy more ram idea. What you need to do is download Process explorer. It is a microsoft application so wont cause any harm.

Its basically a far more detailed version of task manager. It also shows any hardware interupts at the top of the list. A hardware interupt can cause 100% cpu usage and all kinds of other havock that task manager cannot detect. Task manager will only show 100% utilisation but not why.

I know this is an old thread but to the OP did you ever fix the problem?
June 9, 2009 8:11:20 AM

I am having the same problem as OP. Specs are:

Core Duo 1.73gz
1gb of ram
Vista home premium (bleh)
ATI x

processor is running at high capacity when i have a program running (40-90%), but the 2 screenies i included are of when system is idle, and when i'm moving the mouse


June 9, 2009 8:19:28 AM

sorry, ATI x1700

and i got the message that the battery might be nearing the end of its life, i wonder if that might have something to do with it.
!