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windows task manager at 100%CPU

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I recently veiwed my windows task manager on my laptop which uses windows xp. It has 42 processes runnung and informs me that it is running at 100%CPU. Please bare with me as this is new to me. From what i understand this is not great news?.
I am told that alot of the processes do not need to be running, can i stop them or delete them. If so how do i do this?.
If i have 100% CPU what problems could this be causing and how do i overcome this problem?.
Can anyone help, thanks.
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