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System Idle using 90% constantly

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hi - unsure about where this post should go, since i'm unsure of the problem, so my apologies if this is the wrong forum.

task manager shows system idle process using 90% or more of my CPU at all times - i've reinstalled my os, uninstalled every non-critical application, run system restore, run through registry setting with regcleaner and registry mechanic, installed/ran/uninstalled three different virusscans, run several malware apps (spybot, hijackthis, adaware), and manually walked through the entire hard drive for anything that might strike a layman as out-of-the-ordinary. system monitor utilities show that my cpu usage isn't what the taskmanager is showing me, but then again i wasn't able to get any two of them to agree either. possibly unrelated: i had task manager open once when launching photoshop, and saw it's use spike to 90+, while system process dropped, then they slowly (over the next 10 seconds, i'd say) switched.

also probably unrelated, but annoying and worth mentioning: i can't get explorer to reuse windows. start > my computer > tools > folder options > open each folder in the same window is selected for every folder, but they just don't.

thanks in advance for any insight.
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That sounds like the pits. ;)

Let us take a closer look at what is running on your PC. We'll need you to use a free diagnostic tool (HiJackThis) and post a log as a new topic in the Hijack This forum. It will get a better response there from the people most qualified to analyze logs.

Click the HijackThis Guide in my signature, download it and follow the instructions in the guide. Also see this post.

Most of what it lists will be harmless or even essential, DO NOT delete or modify anything yet! Someone will be along to tell you what steps to take after you post the contents of the scan results. :tazz:
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