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Task Manager Behaving Strangely!


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#1
lizgold

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OK, I need some help. I'm on XP Home. I regularly check the task manager, especially when my computer is sluggish--as it is right now.

This is hard to describe, but now suddenly on the Process tab the CPU usage is always in regular increments, such as three processes using 50%, 25%, and 25%, or several processes using 38%, 13%, 13%, 13%, 13%, 13%.

Also, even if the System Idle Process is, say, 40% of CPU, the CPU usage at the bottom is still 99% or 100%. Weird! :)

Should I suspect malware? Or is there some other reason it would suddenly start doing this? (I'm running malware scans now.)

Thanks!!!
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#2
lizgold

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OK, new information:

1. No malware on any scan. However, when I tried to use TFC, the computer crashed, so I used CCleaner instead.
2. Comodo said the print spooler was running at 100%, so I stopped the service. This solved the problem temporarily, but now it's back.
3. When I go to "Printers and Faxes," the screen is blank.
4. HDD Health says my primary disk is running at "47%" health, even though it passes all the Seagate diagnostics. Could this be the problem?
5. I have copied my C drive to another drive because of my concern about this. Which means that I have a second copy of the operating system. Could this be the problem?

Thanks!!!!!

Edited by lizgold, 03 February 2010 - 12:48 PM.

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#3
Broni

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Download Process Explorer: http://technet.micro...s/bb896653.aspx
Unzip ProcessExplorer.zip, and double click on procexp.exe to run the program.
Click on View > Select Colunms.
In addition to already pre-selected options, make sure, the Command Line is selected, and press OK.
Go File>Save As, and save the report as Procexp.txt.
Attach the file to your next reply.
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#4
lizgold

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OK, here it is. I notice that hardware interrupts are spiking up to 97% and seldom less than 60%

Thanks for your help.

Attached File  Procexp.txt   7.7KB   181 downloads

Edited by lizgold, 04 February 2010 - 06:33 PM.

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#5
lizgold

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OK, so after noting the spike in hardware interrupts, I located Microsoft support topic 817472.

It suggests that "after you suspending and resuming your computer several times," the transfer mode on the IDE channel for my primary drive has been reset to "PIO Mode" (whatever that means). And when I looked at the Advanced Settings tab, that is true. I have now manually reset the transfer mode, and the problem is solved.

The weird thing is that this should happen only on XP SP1, and of course I have XP SP2, where it shouldn't happen, unless...there were six *consecutive* (rather than cumulative) time-out or CRC errors. What would cause that?

Could this have anything to do with that Seagate drive going out--could that have triggered the change to PIO mode?

Thanks again.

Edited by lizgold, 04 February 2010 - 07:39 PM.

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#6
Broni

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OK. Keep me posted....
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#7
lizgold

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OK, so it was working fine for awhile, and then while I wasn't using the computer, it is happening again, and the transfer mode on the primary IDE channel has reverted to PIO mode.

I really need some help here to find out what is causing this. So let me tell you some background.

A few weeks ago, I was having trouble with my WD secondary drive, which was a SATA drive attached to a SATA PCI card. It would simply disappear. The drive tested fine, so I suspected the PCI card and/or the cable. So I switched this drive off the card and onto the SATA connector on the motherboard.

In the process, while testing drives, I tested my Seagate primary HD, and HDD Health said its health was only about 48% (although it tested find on all the Seagate diagnostic tests).

So I copied the C: drive on the Seagate (including XP) onto a partition on the WD HD in case the Seagate HD went out, but configured the BIOS so the Seagate is still loading first right now. (I was unable to change to booting from the WD HD because it was missing "ntldr", which I was unable to copy.)

Here are my questions:
1. Are there some sort of drive errors that are causing the primary IDE channel to revert to PIO mode? (It is now the WD that is on this channel.)
2. Is it a problem that there are now 2 operating systems, one on each drive?
3. How do I fix the "ntldr" problem?
4. Should I worry about the Seagate HD going out? What does "48% health" mean since it passed all the diagnostic tests?
5. Could it be the cable to the WD HD?

HELP!!!! :)

You guys are lifesavers.

Edited by lizgold, 05 February 2010 - 04:16 PM.

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#8
Broni

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So I copied the C: drive on the Seagate (including XP) onto a partition on the WD HD in case the Seagate HD went out

I assume, you did it just to save your data? Because there is no other gain from this move. That's the one reason, why the computer won't boot from WD. You can't simply copy C drive to another one and expect it to boot.
If the drive keeps reverting to PIO mode, my main suspicion would be failing drive.

If I were you, I'd probably format WD and perform clean Windows install on it, making it primary at the same time.
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#9
lizgold

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OK, but at this point it seems to be the WD that's reverting to PIO mode, even though it seems perfect otherwise. (On HDD Health, the WD drive is now showing up at zero, and the Seagate drive at 1.)

How can I check which drive it is?

Also, could it be the cable?

Thanks....
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#10
Broni

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Trying different cable wouldn't hurt.
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#11
lizgold

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OK, so I ordered a new hard drive, but in the meantime it took 5 tries before the computer would boot up. Then it would randomly load one HD or the other, but not both.

I am now suspecting it could be the power supply because these eMachines are notorious for bad power supplies, and in fact I discovered that the 300W power supply that cane with it is actually insufficient for the graphics card (which also came with it). And that could explain why I've had so many errors even though both HDs pass all the diagnostic tests. So I've ordered a new power supply and am not going to turn the computer on again until it arrives. (But even if this works, I'll also replace the Seagate drive.)

Question 1: Is it not possible to clone my C drive with a disk copy utility, such as the Western Digital tools? Do I absolutely have to install the OS and all the applications from scratch? I also have an image of the drive from Norton Ghost, if that helps.

Question 2: OK, this is probably a really dumb question, but why does my motherboard have 4 SATA connectors but only 2 hard drive bays (not counting the DVD and CD bays)? :)
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#12
Broni

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these eMachines are notorious for bad power supplies

True.

1. Your new drive should come with cloning utility.
2. I simply don't know, but...I'm not a hardware guy afterall :)
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#13
lizgold

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Sorry--I forgot I started out in the OS forum!

Well, so I replaced the power supply, got a new HD, and cloned the old Seagate drive successfully.

But the WD drive is still flaking out, even with a new cable--I must have remounted it 20 times (moving the cable around to different connectors, etc.) before it finally mounted. Must be a bad connector or something. So I'm going to copy all the files off and ship it back to WD (it's still under warranty).

Thanks!!!
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#14
123Runner

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Question 2: OK, this is probably a really dumb question, but why does my motherboard have 4 SATA connectors but only 2 hard drive bays (not counting the DVD and CD bays)?

It is just simply the way some manufacturers do things. Some boards are generic across many manufacturers. The cases are just what they choose. For inexpensive computers, the manufacturers will use bare minimum on everything. You saw that with the 300w PSU.
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#15
lizgold

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Thanks, guys, for all your help.

It's definitely a problem with the drive--while I'm copying the old to the new, the task manager has reverted to its old tricks. So the copying has slowwwwwed down.

Would it go any faster to do a disk-to-disk copy rather than file-by-file? I assume probably not since it has presumably reverted to PIO mode.

Edited by lizgold, 22 February 2010 - 06:01 PM.

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