I have a Compaq Presario 2200 notebook about 2-1/2 years old. It has worked great until recently. When I start it up, it goes through it's normal boot process, but "most" times, you're unable to open a program. I've been trying to figure out what happens, and it appears the machine goes through a boot up and then one of the "svchost.exe" commands keeps working. It causes the CPU usage to jump from 2% to 98% - goes back and forth and everywhere in between for 3-4 minutes, then settles on 98%-99% CPU usage and stays there. At this point, I'm unable to launch any programs. A couple times after 6-10 minutes, the CPU usage drops back down to normal. As a work around, I launch the Task Manager after starting up the machine. And once it locks up due to the 100% usage (I'm assuming this is why it locks up and won't allow a program to launch), I click on that svchost.exe process and end the task. The CPU usage then drops back to normal and everything appears fine, except I don't have volume control. If I click on the volume control, a box opens that says " There is no active mixer available. To install mixer devices, go to Control Panel, click Printers and Other Hardware, and then click Add Hardware. This program will now close".
Couple other notes - when this happens, there is usually 6 - svchost.exe commands open and only the one is pegged. Also, when the CPU is pegged (or close to it), the fan keeps kicking up. Assuming this is due to too much heat from the processor being maxed out.
I have not installed any new programs at the time this problem started. The only thing that changes is the McAfee Security Suite updates pretty much on a daily basis. The only other thing I can think of is I recently plugged into a network at a hotel, and the following night wireless access at a different hotel. I don't recall having this problem prior to that.
As always, any help will be greatly appreciated!