100% CPU usage in windows xp sp3

Kinda desperate right now. I've searched dozens of forums and whatever solutions I find there have not worked for this.

Right now I'm getting 100% cpu usage and is kinda making my computer drag, and in some cases shut down.
At first I started noticing this problem when playing Left 4 Dead. All of a sudden my computer would drop to near unplayable frame rates. Then it happened while playing skyrim. I would tab out, look at task manager and see that the system process was using up most of my cpu.
Odd thing is is that in skyrim, after I lost frame rates sometimes I could quickload a game, and I'd be right back at normal cpu usage and frame rates. Strange. Now, mostly, the frames always drop again minutes later, and I'm back at 100 percent cpu drag.

System specs: Windows xp sp3
AMD Athlon 7750 Dual-Core Processor 2.70GHz 2.75GB Ram
4GB Ram, but only use 3gb due to xp 32-bit
Nvidia Geforce Gtx 260
mobo - nvidia nforce730a
cooler master 500w psu

Here's what I've found about this problem:
-It persisted after a fresh install (reformatting and deleting partitions as well) with a long format
-It mostly happens while playing games, sometimes a quick save and quick load would temporarily refresh frame rates. Sometimes this doesnt help and the cpu spikes continue out of game, most of the time persisting for hours. I've seen it spike up out of game as well, but not as much.
-Using Process Explorer I've seen that in the System Process, a process called Interrupts - Hardware Interrupts and DCPs seems to be the thing that's using up all my cpu power whenever this happens.
-Cleaned my heatsink and cpu fan, also applied a fresh dab of thermal paste; and the problem still persists.
-Did a virus scan in updated norton, and various spyware progs. No viruses were found; cleaned up spyware but the problem persisted. Scanned with malware bytes, found 1 item but my computer kept shutting down before finishing... was kind of spooky and unsettling (Running it again as I type after fresh OS install... The program just shut down and now it won't restart. Hopefully thats just a bug in the program. trying a scan with MSE)
-Full scan with MSE, drive is clean
-Ran CCleaner. Cleaned up registry and drives. Problem still persists.
-My IDE drives are not in PIO mode. Heard a lot about that.
-Flashed bios. No change.
-Updated graphics card drivers to older and newer versions, as well as motherboard drivers, no change.
-Installed Processor drivers and Dual core optimizer
-Unplugged excess hardware and drives
-Ran checkdsk incase of bad sectors
-Uninstalled/Reinstalled Duplicate Primary and Secondary IDE Channels
-Upgraded graphics card with no change.

I'm totally stumped. If anyone has solved this problem it would be a relief to hear. Thanks.
5 answers Last reply
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  1. It looks to me that your rig is seriously under-powered and/or outdated for the games you want to play. I doubt that any changes short of doing a substantial upgrade will suffice to bring you acceptible fps for the games you want to run. Perhaps there are others who can suggest alternatives, but I cannot help but to think that you need a new platform.
  2. The CPU is more than up to playing left 4 dead. Power Supply maybe? It might be on the way out and not producing enough watts, 500 watt is the minimum for a 260. Except for that I'm stumped. You shouldn't really be getting frame rate drops with that CPU, source engine stuff runs on anything. Have you got anything running in the background? If Norton decides to run a scan mid game it might do that. In my experience all that Norton does is be a pain and slow the computer down. I use AVG free and thats fine. And it might be malware too come to read that it shuts down when it malwarebites finds something.
  3. My rig can run the games I want to play fine... Ive played smoothly for a long time before the 100 percent cpu spikes started happening.

    blahman11, someone else mentioned the power supply, but I don't really know how to test it. Someone told me to check in the PC Health section of the bios; there it says that the voltage is normal... so i have no idea.

    I nixed norton for MSE. I havent done another malware scan other than a full scan I did in MSE. That, and I also did a long format, and reinstalled windows.
  4. Kinda desperate right now. I've searched dozens of forums and whatever solutions I find there have not worked for this.


    I have the same problem without any games. Only web browsing and sometimes even withou that. I saw in some of the forums that someone solved this problem by updating the BIOS. Did you try it?

  5. Yeah I tried updating the bios... as well as a lot of other things.. I even upgraded from windows xp to windows 7. nothing worked :(
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