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High CPU usage

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Since yesterday I've been experiencing some heavy slow-downs on my computer. I've scanned the computer with Norton Antivirus, AD-Aware, Microsoft AntiSpyware, Spybot and Spy Sweeper without anything found. Now I'm trying my luck here, hoping that someone can help me out.

The System:
A Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop
Intel Pentium: 1,73GHz
Windows XP

The problem:
Since yesterday my computer is slowing down a lot.
Pretty much any action causses a slow-down of 1-2 seconds. If I have iTunes running in the background the music starts to stutter as soon as I as much as click on a file.
When I check the CPU usage and applications I notice something very weird. If I don't do anything the CPU-usage is around 0-5%, all pretty normal.
However, if I start up a program or click on a file the CPU usage sky-rockets up to 80-100%.
Looking at the applications doesn't help me much either since it doesn't seem to be one application in particular that eats all the CPU. All applications are generally at 0% unless I use a program, then that program suddenly uses up all of the CPU.

I really have no idea what could cause this sudden slow-downs, I can't remember downloading or installing anything yesterday.

Anyone have any suggestions what I could do?
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    Retired Staff

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Please go to the malware forum and follow the instructions at the top....Especially the CLICK HERE .

That will give you several steps that will help you clean up 70 percent of all problems by yourself. If at the end of the process you are still having difficulty--and you may not be-- then post a hijackthis log in THAT forum.

If you are still having problems after getting a clean bill of health from the malware expert, please return to this thread.
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