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Serie of process going to 99% cpu


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#1
Alocin

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Hi,

I would very much appreciate your inputs into this problem. I've tried everything i could think of and looked everywhere for a solution over the web. I have been living with that problem for about 9 months now and i'm about to get «the hammer solution».

SYMPTOMS:
From time to time, with no predicable pattern, one process on my computer goes toward 99% cpu usage. It is often msnmsg (last 2 versions at least) or outlook (2003), but it can be others.

When i become aware of it (extreme slow down) I can manage to call the task manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) as it will show up about a minute later. I can then kill the faulty process.

SECONDARY SYMPTOMS:
This is when it begans to spirals downward, after i kill the first process, it will jump to an other (apparently random) and this one will show 99% cpu usage. I can continue to kill those processes until i reach explorer itself and then the patterns will stops.

From there, there is two possibles outcomes. If I try to relaunch explorer, the system will hang (not freezing really, but going so slow that even the task manager becomes unusable) and therefore i have to reboot it. The other possibility is that i use the task manager to call a reboot of the system. Then i will have again a serie of (99% cpu usage) terminate promt that i will have to terminate before i reach the login out screen and then everything comes back to normal.

After the reboots, everything works fine. But the problem could arise again rigth away, after one hour of after 5 days with multiple shutdowns and/or sleep/deep sleeps.

I have been in the computer fixing business for 16 years and it is the first time i cannot see/find what the problem is... and it is on my own computer (doh!). It is NOT a problem with a malware/spyware/virus i can assure you.


Thank you very much for any input.


(BTW, one subproblem i have is that i cannot figure what keywords i could use to even make searches for that problem on MS site or google... i allways get results about very different problems)


- Alocin
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#2
anzenketh

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What makes you say that you do not have a malware issue?

It would not hurt for the malware pepole to take a look at it. If your system is clean it will be a real quick check then you can come back here to continue with other items to troubleshoot.

We now need to make certain that this issue is not malware because if we troubleshoot otherwise we may be wasting our time.

I suggest you go to the Malware Forum and run all the steps located in the START HERE. These self-help tools will help you clean up 70% of problems on your own. If you are still having problems after doing the steps, then please post a HiJackThis Log in THAT forum. If you are unable to run and/or post a HJT log, then post that in your initial post in the topic you create in that forum.

If you are still having problems after being given a clean bill of health from the malware expert, then please return to THIS thread and we will pursue other options to help you solve your current problem(s).
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#3
Alocin

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Hi Tux :o)

What makes you say that you do not have a malware issue?


For the same reason you would say «I don't have a malware issue» if I was suggesting it to you :o)

In other words, simply because i have been fixing computers for the last 22 years, have been keeping an antivirus up to date, been scanning with ad-aware and spybot to make sure, have read my HiJackThis log and can account for every entry knowingly and look at my process listing and can account for each one, knowing exacly what each does.

This is how i know that i don't have a malware.

As for my problem, beside your suggested desinfestation guide, have ever see something like that happening to a computer? I have see many strange things happens, but not that.

Thanks for your interest.
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#4
Alocin

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Oh, by the way, i did a burn test on my material and a mem test...
Also, linux is always stable on the same computer, so I really don't think it's hardware related.

Sometime ago i persued the antivirus trail, but without success. Something look like a secondary process, from somewhere (windows? norton antivirus?) is grappling tentacles over other processes...
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#5
1101doc

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I would assume that you have the Sysinternals Process Explorer: http://www.microsoft...ssExplorer.mspx I would call up a properties dialog on each of the 'random' 99% processes to explore whether any common threads, strings or dlls were involved. Are you getting any application errors or warnings in Event Viewer? Anything interesting in 'System' at all?
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#6
Alocin

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I would assume that you have the Sysinternals Process Explorer: http://www.microsoft...ssExplorer.mspx I would call up a properties dialog on each of the 'random' 99% processes to explore whether any common threads, strings or dlls were involved. Are you getting any application errors or warnings in Event Viewer? Anything interesting in 'System' at all?


I had the application, but didn't thought about looking for threads that way. It will be the first thing i'll try next time it acts up (as implied, it is rather intermittent, it should take 1 to 3 days to do that to me again).

Thanks.


- Alocin


(I'm still wondering if anybody ever saw a similar problem description elsewhere on the net...?)
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#7
anzenketh

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99.9% of the time 99.9% CPU ussage is due to malware.
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#8
DiggerP

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Hi,

Another program to check processes is What's Running
WhatsRunning?

To control CPU Usage you can try Process Tamer
http://www.softpedia...ess-Tamer.shtml
or
BES http://mion.faireal.net/BES/

I know this doesn't solve the random increase on any of the programs involved,
but it does prevent the system freezing up on the app.
Because of that you may be able to find what's really causing the problem.

Check your firewall logs for inappropriate connections.
Check update settings for affected programs.
Task scheduler settings.

I know you're sure there is no malware (did you check for rootkits?),
but something is accessing the programs randomly.
Automated backups?What frequency?
Just running the possibilities as I think of them :whistling:

Pete.
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#9
Alocin

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Hi,

Thanks for your interest,

I'm already using BES, this is how i am able to save my data most of the time. I can effectively calm a program that is acting up...

As for firewall, this happends as often while i am not online as when i am online (and beside, i am behind a personnal router, so no incoming unwanted connections...), however, i will try to see if programs are trying to reach out at that time, it is an interesting idea since i'm using wireless most of the time. (and it can use a lot of cpu)

What do you mean by update settings for the programs? It varies on so many different programs (even simple ones that shouldn't be able to freeze in normal circonstances)

The task scheduler is empty.

Thanks again for trying guys :o)


- Alocin
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#10
stu5640

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Hi Alocin, I may have a similar problem to yours, I didn't want to butt into your thread and go on about my problem though so i've started a new thread under CPU problem. If it is the same problem then maybe we can figure out if there is a common theme causing it...
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#11
The Skeptic

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Hi Alocin.

I have never seen the problem that you describe but for me, still almost every computer that I fix teach me something that I didn't know or didn't expect.

My suspicion goes immediately to Norton. I would uninstall it and run ccleaner after the removal. Now I would reinstall those free antimalware programs and test the computer for few days.

If this doesn't help then I would look at a hardware problem possibly with cpu cache or the cpu itself. My choice for a free program is Sandra XI. It gives many optional tests to test your entire system.
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#12
DiggerP

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Hi Alocin,

What do you mean by update settings for the programs? It varies on so many different programs (even simple ones that shouldn't be able to freeze in normal circonstances)

Certain programs or apps like anti-malware etc update quite often if they are set to active protection,
however for some you can set the update interval.
Another is email client login or mailcheck.
Whether or not you're connected doesn't matter, the program will still try to connect to the server
and if unsuccessful can- (and will hang sometimes).
At least that's my experience.
You're right,there are many and it varies and in most cases it should not freeze the system unless
you're short on memory.
Even so,the randomness and sustained high CPU doesn't account for the above.

Something is "hooking" the programs (also services?) and it seems to lead to Explorer.

If you have- or have access to- a second monitor and your machine is equipped for this,
you could try running a diagnostic- or monitoring utility such as Process Monitor on the second screen,
http://www.microsoft...essmonitor.mspx
and run your apps on the primary screen.
You can also use a second computer for this.Anyway, you know the tricks :whistling:

As to what The Skeptic said about Norton, I agree and have also removed it for that reason,
however Norton causes an overall slowdown and malaise :blink: but I've never seen it jump
from one program to another as you were describing.
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#13
anzenketh

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Has your system gradually become slow or was it sudden?
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#14
Alocin

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My system is functionning perfectly 98% of the time... Then in an instant it goes to slow mode, (ctrl-alt-del) takes about 30 sec to bring out the task manager (because of the hi cpu usage of course).

As for uninstalling norton, i will try it again and keep you advised of the results...
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#15
The Skeptic

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Please also try to run Sandra XI to test the cpu and cache memory. The fact that there is no clear pattern in the processes suggest the possibility that the cpu is having a problem which manifests itself randomly. Like with all random problems this may not show up during the test but I would give it a try.
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