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100% CPU usage - System Process


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#1
royalwulff22

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My computer has been slow for a while. I recently checked the task manager and notice I'm running 100% CPU usage. When I look at processes, I noticed it is the System process (not System Idle) that is using most of the CPU.

I did a full system virus and malware scan using AVG free edition - no major problems, just a few tracking cookies.

I downloaded Process Explorer which shows me that DPC's are useing 40 to 50% CPU and System is using the other 40 to 50%.

I've deleted unecessary programs - I've started in Safe Mode to see if it still ran at 100% - it did. What else can I check or do?

BTW - I think one of my fans is out. When I start up the computer an error says something like "previous fan failure. F1 to continue or F2 for setup"
Would the fan have anythig to do with it?
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#2
rshaffer61

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Yes, heat is the biggest enemy of a computer. Heat will cause internal components to run hotter and therefor wear out faster. Heat will cause the cpu and memory to also slow down.
That being said try this

Lets see what you have in your startup
Please click on
Start>>Run>>Type in msconfig>>>press enter
Now click on Startups
Then uncheck everything and restart.
If system boots correctly and is running smoothly and faster then we have a startup problem
Try going back into msconfig and check one item and reboot
Keep doing that till you have found the problem or all are finally checked.

If this makes no improvement then try this

Lets see what you have in your startup services area
Please click on
Start>>Run>>Type in msconfig>>>press enter
Now click on Services
Click on Hide All Microsoft Services
Then uncheck everything and restart.
If system boots correctly and is running smoothly and faster then we have a service problem
Try going back into msconfig and check one item and reboot
Keep doing that till you have found the problem or all are finally checked.


Post back with the results of both tests.

We will need some more information

If this is a name brand system:
Make
Model
Operating System
Age of the computer
Memory Total
Hard Drive Size, How much free space



If this is custom then We will need the following:

The CPU brand and model
The Motherboard brand and model
Ram amount and speed
Cd\Dvd rom interface IDE/ SATA
Hard Drive size and free space
Any cards in PCI slots
Any software installed\updated and driver updates done just before problem started

All this will help in determining a course of action to best correct the problem you are experiencing.
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#3
happyrock

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do what rshaffer61 said to do...he hit the nail right on the head... :)
only thing I would add is which fan is not working...if its the cpu fan then the cpu will throttle back to keep from committing suicide as it gets hotter and hotter...
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#4
royalwulff22

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Turned off all startups then all services. Neither tests made any difference. The performance tab in Task Manager always says 100% cpu usage. The System Process is using most of it, but that one fluctuates. If I have to run a program like IE, the system process might drop to say 30% while IE is using the rest. Then when everything is idle, the system process is fluctuating between 80 and 97%.

Currently, with all startups and services turned off and I look at task manager processes: tskmgr uses 3 to 6%, IE uses 3 to 6%, and System uses the remainder.

I have a Dell Dimension 2400
MS Windows XP Home edition ver 2002, service pack 2.
Intel Pentium 4 processor - 2.4ghz
1.25 GB Ram
37.2 GB total on hard drive
16.6 free space

I bought the computer about 5, maybe 6 years ago (new). Added 1GB of ram several months back when things started slowing down too much.

I'm not sure which fan is out. I can hear one running as soon as the power button is turned on but I don't hear an extra one during heavy usage like I used to. Heat causing the CPU to slow down is one thing, but would the fan really cause the cpu to report as running at 100% usage?
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#5
rshaffer61

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Yes it will most definately. Eventually the cpu will fail.
The choices I see you have
Replace Cpu fan immediately if that is the one not running or not turning correctly.
Check and see if you have a 2nd case cooling fan in the system and if so make sure it is running.
Third check the back of your system and see if the fan on the power supply is turning and continues to turn. If not this could indicate a power supply failure and would need replacing.
Last for this post

Let's check your memory and make sure there is no issue with it.Donwload memtest86 from the link in my signature below.


Get the file that is named Download - The one you want is "Download - Pre-compiled Bootable ISO (.zip). When it downloads, it will be labeled "memtest86+2.11.iso.zip"
Unzip the file once you download it. You should have a .iso file in the unzipped directory.

if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files get burncdcc in my signature below.

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its memtest86.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

Make sure the bios is set for the cd drive as the first boot device
Put the cd in the cd drive and then boot your computer.


Run memtest for at least 2 hours
If it starts showing any errors during that time then you will have to replace the memory
If there are no errors after 2 hours press Esc and that will end the tests
We will then try other options

Edited by rshaffer61, 12 April 2009 - 09:00 AM.

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#6
royalwulff22

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Ran memtest for 2 hours and 20 minutes. It did at least one full pass and no errors.

I'll take off my side panel and start checking the fan(s). Gotta go now, but will keep you updated. Any other suggestions in the meantime are greatly appreciated.
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#7
rshaffer61

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Let's do some basic maintenance

Go to
Start>>My Computer>>Right Click On 'C" drive>>Properties
Click on Tools tab at the top
In the Error Checking field click Check Now

when that is done
In Defragmentation field click Defragment Now

When done download ATF from my signature below
Install it to your desktop
Click to run the program >> Click Run
Select all and click
Empty Selected

Reboot and let me know how system is running now
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#8
happyrock

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what malware tools do you have...do you keep them updated and run them regularly...
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#9
royalwulff22

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Thank you for those extra maintenence tips.
As far as malware, I recently put on AVG anti virus - the free version. Up until then I had Norton- Norton had been expired for a couple of months so now new updates.

The CPU fan was not working. I unplugged it last night so I could take it to a used computer shop and make sure I get the right replacemtent.

I will replace ASAP - but apparently that was the problem - once it was unplugged and rebooted - no more 100%CPU.
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#10
rshaffer61

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Ahh ha. The dreaded overheat was the problem. I knew it. :) :) :)

Also per Happyrock's question you may want to install something like Malwarebytes for malware protection.
A spyware program also won't hurt
What firewall are you using? If not windows you may want to try Comodo.
Just some added info

Edited by rshaffer61, 13 April 2009 - 08:03 AM.

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#11
happyrock

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I will replace ASAP - but apparently that was the problem - once it was unplugged and rebooted - no more 100%CPU.

are you saying that after unplugging the cpu fan and with no cpu fan at all on your computer you booted up and it runs fine... :)

Edited by happyrock, 13 April 2009 - 12:50 PM.

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#12
royalwulff22

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Yeah - with no cpu fan the computer runs fine (the other fan in the power box works). I figured there was a sensor that told the computer the fan wasn't working so it cut back functionality. With the fan out - nothing told the cpu there was a problem. Does that sound odd?

I unplugged the fan last night and I had to check online for an address this morning and noticed that the cpu was running normal.

I suppose it could be that the computer was cool from being off, but I don't remember it working fine in the mornings with the fan plugged in.

I'm at work now, but I'll test the old fan before installing the new one. I'll keep you updated.
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#13
rshaffer61

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This is not good. Running the cpu without a fan is like playing with a live bomb. It will burn the cpu up.
Please replace the fan asap as this will cause you to have to replace the cpu also.

Edited by rshaffer61, 13 April 2009 - 03:57 PM.

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#14
happyrock

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This is not good. Running the cpu without a fan is like playing with a live bomb. It will burn the cpu up.
Please replace the fan asap as this will cause you to have to replace the cpu also.

and maybe even the mobo as well..while its not like playing with a live bomb...a bomb would kill you...its more like tap dancing in a minefield.. :) ...your sure to lose some parts you really need... :)
when you get the new cpu fan look closely at the mobo and be sure your connecting it to the cpufan socket/plug in...
power up and if the fan does not start spinning right away...shut down Immediately...

Edited by happyrock, 13 April 2009 - 05:23 PM.

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