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CPU Usage Issue: Can YOU Solve it?

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January 31, 2012 8:28:13 PM

Hello, I am experiencing a CPU usage issue.
CPUs should idle approximately at <5% right? (With few to no background programs running)
Well mine doesn't.
It spikes to about 30% every few seconds with no programs running at all(and sometimes higher; and sometimes individual core activity is just crazy and random)
So I ran two virus/malware programs and removed a lot of bad files
I ran disk defragmentation and disk cleanup
I removed old useless programs
I ran two registry error fixers
I switched to Windows Aero and disabled gadgets
And I'm still having the same problem! Nothing helped!
Can anyone help me?

*I have AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black edition 3.2 ghz*
*Windows 7 Home Edition*

Much Appreciated, Ben

More about : cpu usage issue solve

January 31, 2012 9:08:19 PM

if you're on win7 (or vista) go onto task manager, click on the performance tab, then go onto resource moniter. go to thecpu moniter,clickon the average usage column to sort it into descending order, and workit out from there.
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 9:38:45 PM

run malwarebytes and then spybot search and destroy

then get soluto and disable all the programs from booting that you don't need.
Related resources
January 31, 2012 10:18:46 PM

If you are using default video drivers (vgasave) then just moving a window around will spike cpu usage.
Edit: scratch that, i see you are using aero, you can't with default drivers.
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January 31, 2012 10:33:42 PM

Just reformat. I find it's not worth the trouble of trying to figure out what's wrong.

Rule of thumb, reformat every 6 months to a year and keep all of your important files and programs on separate partitions.
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 10:36:56 PM

use esrever answer
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:12:32 PM

Blandge said:
Just reformat. I find it's not worth the trouble of trying to figure out what's wrong.

Rule of thumb, reformat every 6 months to a year and keep all of your important files and programs on separate partitions.



Hi :) 

Thats awful advice....

If its a hardware problem, he reformats, reinstalls Windows then ALL his drivers and updates....and its still the same ?????

Also what happens if he is a business user...you advise a company to reformat every 6 months and they would laugh you out of their offices....

All the best Brett :) 
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:21:45 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

Thats awful advice....

If its a hardware problem, he reformats, reinstalls Windows then ALL his drivers and updates....and its still the same ?????


Then he knows it's a hardware problem and can pinpoint the culprit from there. For instance, I was having graphics issues, so I reformatted. The problem still existed, so I bought a new video card. Problem solved, and I had a fresh install of Windows to work with.

Brett928S2 said:
Also what happens if he is a business user...you advise a company to reformat every 6 months and they would laugh you out of their offices....

All the best Brett :) 


If he is a business user then he should contact his company's IT department. For instance (#2), I have a work laptop. I have not reformatted in over a year and do not plan to because if I ever have any problems, I contact IT.

Different scenarios call for different action. My first statement was rather blunt, so I can understand your opposition. You are not incorrect in your statements, but I believe my advise is still valid.
January 31, 2012 11:23:03 PM

Vista and 7 do stuff in the background quite often.
If you are not noticing any performance issues or ill effects in general, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

but if you just have to know, download sysinternals suite (free) and use process explorer.
this will give you much better info than task manager. (windows task manager does have it's limitations)

as mentioned earlier, sort by average cpu usage (in windows task manager, go to View -> Select Columns and add CPU Time, then sort by that and it will show the processes using the most amount of CPU time, not just the current spikes.)

also, as mentioned earlier, make sure your malware scans include malwarebytes and spybot search&destroy.
also, you need to run an antivirus scan. (not just anti-malware, spyware etc only. the antivirus looks for things that programs like malwarebytes, spybot, super antispyware, etc overlook)
I recommend Avast for free home usage - it's got the best combination of effectiveness and system footprint out of any i've come across (and working as a pc tech, i've come across PLENTY. lol)


hope this helps
-eric


*also, as a side note, Brett, wipe/reload of the OS is something everyone should consider at least once a year or so.
- i try to do it once or twice a year.
if it's a business environment, stuff should already be backed up securely anyways. lol
granted wipe/reload does seem a bit extreme for this case.
January 31, 2012 11:33:26 PM

Blandge said:
Then he knows it's a hardware problem and can pinpoint the culprit from there. For instance, I was having graphics issues, so I reformatted. The problem still existed, so I bought a new video card. Problem solved, and I had a fresh install of Windows to work with.



If he is a business user then he should contact his company's IT department. For instance (#2), I have a work laptop. I have not reformatted in over a year and do not plan to because if I ever have any problems, I contact IT.

Different scenarios call for different action. My first statement was rather blunt, so I can understand your opposition. You are not incorrect in your statements, but I believe my advise is still valid.


I wouldn't suggest a reformat, if you are going to try a fresh install it's easier to just use a non-OS drive and do a fresh install on there to test. Overall diagnosing your problem without a format is always better, you learn more about computers and lose no important file or have to deal with reinstalling a large amount of programs (this is my biggest issue because digging through the house for CD/DVD's is just ridiculous)
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January 31, 2012 11:34:13 PM

Hi :) 

I own Computer companies and shops and a Laptop repair company...

My business machines are all backed up (nightly) and NEVER reformatted between new operating systems installed... so next time will be for Windows 8 , as an example..

Any machine that is looked after well NEVER needs reformatting....

Its too "over the top" , its a little like putting a new engine in a car when all it needs is an oil change...

My home machines are the same.....

The ONLY time we Format a customers machine is either they have SPECIFICALLY asked us or if Windows is so corrupt that its impossible to repair it...(extremely rare)

FORMAT is a tool and useful in certain circumstances, but vastly overused these days...

To be honest, if you dont know HOW to FIX Windows without reformatting, you are in the wrong job (professionally speaking)

All the best Brett :) 
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:34:22 PM

ericpeacock79 said:
granted wipe/reload does seem a bit extreme for this case.


For a CPU usage problem? Yes probably, but judging by his other statements it seems like he's ready for a reformat anyway.

Best solution

January 31, 2012 11:37:01 PM
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Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

Thats awful advice....

If its a hardware problem, he reformats, reinstalls Windows then ALL his drivers and updates....and its still the same ?????

Also what happens if he is a business user...you advise a company to reformat every 6 months and they would laugh you out of their offices....

All the best Brett :) 


I am sorry Brett but i have to agree with Blandge, Windows is a very complex system and is not the best at housekeeping.

I would reinstall windows, but make sure you have your important files backed up on another drive, partitions can be risky as it gives you the option to format it when installing fresh. So when installing windows just have your boot hard drive plugged in, yet i digress.

Installing windows from the ground up would eliminate all software issues thus letting you know if its a hardware problem. From my experience it sounds like its software causing the issue, due to my job i repair a lot of computers everyday and I have never seen a CPU go to 30% load every few seconds without software doing it.

If what is causing the problem is a virus again i would always advise a reinstall of windows as you never know what damage they have done to your system files and what has been left behind. But i would scan your data with at least 3 anti-virus packages (Malwarebytes, Spybot Search and Destroy and Microsoft Security Essentials, I find installing Essentials first and then running malwarebytes over it works very well, then clean-up with spybot).

I hope this helps :) 
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:48:06 PM

the reformat is the last thing you do had made my own system and maintain it also helping friends never had to reformat to cure system so a a simple user not having a computer busnisess the reformat would be my last choice
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:49:43 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

I own Computer companies and shops and a Laptop repair company...

My business machines are all backed up (nightly) and NEVER reformatted between new operating systems installed... so next time will be for Windows 8 , as an example..

Any machine that is looked after well NEVER needs reformatting....

Its too "over the top" , its a little like putting a new engine in a car when all it needs is an oil change...

My home machines are the same.....


Now I see where you are coming from. As you do this for a living you clearly know how to maintain your system MUCH better than the average user, so your systems do not build up the massive amount of malware/viruses that the average home PC would. I'm sure you know this from experience.

It's probably the best option to take his computer to a professional, but a reformat is a quick, easy and cheap solution.

Brett928S2 said:
To be honest, if you dont know HOW to FIX Windows without reformatting, you are in the wrong job (professionally speaking)

All the best Brett :) 


I'm unsure if this is directed towards me or not, but if it is then I feel I must respond. First, to assume that I work in a computer-related field just because I've been issued a business laptop is asinine. Additional I could probably "FIX Windows" given some time and effort but would rather perform a simple format then spend hours debugging a computer that has a hundred things wrong with it.
January 31, 2012 11:53:58 PM

Before doing something as extreme as a format (or install on a new drive) I'd try a using the windows cd and selecting repair by pressing f8 when booting up. It will recover files they may have been corrupt, and you won't have to deal with the hassel of a reinstall. Yeah it may not catch everything, but doing a virus scan, then recovery if the issue persists is alot easier and stress free compared to a complete reinstall.
February 1, 2012 12:04:34 AM

Best answer selected by JDriggers.
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February 1, 2012 12:05:34 AM

Blandge said:
Now I see where you are coming from. As you do this for a living you clearly know how to maintain your system MUCH better than the average user, so your systems do not build up the massive amount of malware/viruses that the average home PC would. I'm sure you know this from experience.

It's probably the best option to take his computer to a professional, but a reformat is a quick, easy and cheap solution.



I'm unsure if this is directed towards me or not, but if it is then I feel I must respond. First, to assume that I work in a computer-related field just because I've been issued a business laptop is asinine. Additional I could probably "FIX Windows" given some time and effort but would rather perform a simple format then spend hours debugging a computer that has a hundred things wrong with it.


Hi :) 

The last bit was aimed at myself and any other computer pros actually :) 

I see your point about home users with little experience, but from experience in my shops, home users do not really know how to reformat and load windows PROPERLY anyway...


The proper way to do it....

Save user files if possible....

Format and load Windows....

Do NOT go on the net yet...

Load ALL hardware drivers....

Load a GOOD Anti-Virus (NOT a free one)....

Update the AV, Several times...

Do ALL Windows updates and ALL Service packs....

Load latest Monthly graphics driver from AMD or NVIDIA....

Load User files back on....

Now that little lot if done properly will take on average 3 to 4 hours (if you know what you are doing)

BUT.... we get a LOT of people in my shops who had the "OH JUST FORMAT AND RELOAD IT" advice, and they say things like...ummm my sound doesnt work any more, or why are my graphics so huge, and even worse.... WHERE have all my important files gone....

Its why I personally very very rarely give the "Format and Reload" advice....

All the best Brett :) 


a b à CPUs
February 1, 2012 12:11:55 AM

@Brett928S2 take care of my mobo the same way you do in your shop salutations scout_03
a b à CPUs
February 1, 2012 12:18:16 AM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

The last bit was aimed at myself and any other computer pros actually :) 

I see your point about home users with little experience, but from experience in my shops, home users do not really know how to reformat and load windows PROPERLY anyway...


The proper way to do it....

Save user files if possible....

Format and load Windows....

Do NOT go on the net yet...

Load ALL hardware drivers....

Load a GOOD Anti-Virus (NOT a free one)....

Update the AV, Several times...

Do ALL Windows updates and ALL Service packs....

Load latest Monthly graphics driver from AMD or NVIDIA....

Load User files back on....

Now that little lot if done properly will take on average 3 to 4 hours (if you know what you are doing)

BUT.... we get a LOT of people in my shops who had the "OH JUST FORMAT AND RELOAD IT" advice, and they say things like...ummm my sound doesnt work any more, or why are my graphics so huge, and even worse.... WHERE have all my important files gone....

Its why I personally very very rarely give the "Format and Reload" advice....

All the best Brett :) 


Thank you for your rational response.

I concede that there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. Maintaining a Windows system with scheduled cleans and scans should be an ongoing process to avoid getting into this common situation that many users find themselves. Let me say that I would always perform the malware/virus/spyware scans etc. before reformatting, but sometimes an OS is beyond saving.

You have not given any poor advice, we simply have differing opinions due to our own accumulated knowledge and experience.
a b à CPUs
February 1, 2012 12:23:24 AM

Blandge said:
Thank you for your rational response.

I concede that there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. Maintaining a Windows system with scheduled cleans and scans should be an ongoing process to avoid getting into this common situation that many users find themselves. Let me say that I would always perform the malware/virus/spyware scans etc. before reformatting, but sometimes an OS is beyond saving.

You have not given any poor advice, we simply have differing opinions due to our own accumulated knowledge and experience.



Hi :) 

Very true, that last paragraph, and a pleasure discussing it with you :) 

Off to be now as 2.25 am and finally finished some of my businesses paperwork (one of the downsides to owning businesses lol :)  )

All the best Brett :) 
February 1, 2012 5:53:48 AM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

I own Computer companies and shops and a Laptop repair company...

My business machines are all backed up (nightly) and NEVER reformatted between new operating systems installed... so next time will be for Windows 8 , as an example..

Any machine that is looked after well NEVER needs reformatting....

Its too "over the top" , its a little like putting a new engine in a car when all it needs is an oil change...

My home machines are the same.....

The ONLY time we Format a customers machine is either they have SPECIFICALLY asked us or if Windows is so corrupt that its impossible to repair it...(extremely rare)

FORMAT is a tool and useful in certain circumstances, but vastly overused these days...

To be honest, if you dont know HOW to FIX Windows without reformatting, you are in the wrong job (professionally speaking)

All the best Brett :) 


seriously? spoken like a manager vs a tech. lol

i'm in the wrong job b/c i know it's often times easier and quicker to wipe/reload than to track down and fix everything wrong with a windows installation?
and when it comes to time spent on a job, its often times more cost effective. (i would think (hope) cost effectiveness would be second priority behind customer satisfaction for a business owner.)

going with the oil change analogy, sometimes an engine needs to be rebuilt or replaced after too many skipped oil changes. (especially if it's a V6 with tens of thousands of miles on no oil changes - i've seen it; or an 8 year old computer that's never had proper windows maintenance done to it - i see that quite often.)

i often times see windows installations that are entirely too corrupt to repair. (no safe mode, no last known good, no windows boot disc repair, etc)

regardless, the only machine that would "NEVER" benefit from a wipe/reload of windows is one that very lightly used.
windows is horrible at self maintenance; let alone maintenance of anything else.
whatever cleaning utilities u want to throw at it, a typical well used PC does get gummed up and slow down and benefits from a wipe/reload from time to time.

and of course, the flip side is that there are cases where a wipe/reload would be detrimental to the customer - program or data loss, etc.

obviously, wipe/reload is a last resort, but to say it's never necessary and i'm in the wrong career field b/c i call for wipe/reload yearly is ludicrous.

finally, avast free kicks the crap out of norton, mcafee or avg paid.
avast and avira free are much better solutions than the top 3 paid. i deduce this based on how many norton/mcafee/avg (paid, up-to-date) machines i get with severe infection and how VERY rarely an avast/ad-aware combination comes back to me reinfected.
and that's not even talking about the ridiculously huge system footprint the top 3 have - ugh.

i'm going to bed now, after cleaning up virus' from 6 infected machines and replacing avg business with a better (not free) solution.
February 1, 2012 6:34:56 AM

I have an old Pentium on a db865g motherboard still running from the same install done years. To this day I have had no trouble and no need for a reinstall. To top it off it is on 24/7 and used daily for 8+ hours by my not tech friendly girlfriend (dont ask me why she doesn't want an upgrade, its ridiculous) my point is that a fresh install isn't always the answer, its like an easy way out for those not willing to put time into their expensive or in this case ancient computers. Lol
Not saying a fresh install doesn't have its uses, but yearly is a little much.
a b à CPUs
February 1, 2012 11:11:06 AM

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