Dell forum


cpu peaking a LOT

by Oh_Deer / January 2, 2013 7:19 AM PST

I have a Dell Inspiron 531S desktop . . it's *always peaking at/near 100. I imagine that's what makes it hum/buzz.

*I need to know what to do about it.* I don't have money, I had a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm last Jan. and haven't worked since.

A guy at Best Buy said that there's probably something malicious running in the background to make it do that. There aren't any programs running in the task manager and he said that the Processes are all unrelated . . to a possible cause.

The browser I use is Cometbird, I do have IE9 installed. The system was sold with Vista Basic, it now has 7 Premium. (32 bit) It's been working with Microsoft Security Essentials for at least a year.. something different before that. I have System Mechanic 11.5 Professional on it. I downloaded Sophos' free rootkit removal tool - nothing.

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All Answers

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Process Explorer
by Manpreet_C Dell staff / January 2, 2013 3:34 PM PST
In reply to: cpu peaking a LOT


Please run Dell diagnostics to check the hard drive functionality:
1. Turn on (or restart) your computer.
2. When the Dell logo appears, press F12 key 2-3 times and press Enter.
3. When the 'One Time Boot Menu' appears, highlight 'Boot to Utility Partition' and press Enter.
4. When the Dell Diagnostics main menu appears, select 'Express Test'.
5. Share the error code, if any.

You can download and install this software Process Explorer (1 MB).
Sort the Private Bytes in descending order as shown in the image.

You may also perform a clean boot to determine if there are any background programs causing this issue.

You may also observe the CPU usage in Safe Mode.

Hope this helps.

Thanks and Regards,
Manpreet C

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no boot device available
by Oh_Deer / January 2, 2013 9:06 PM PST
In reply to: Process Explorer

I tapped the F12.. chose Utility Partition.. the only thing with 'Utility' mentioned and it said No Boot Device Available and under SATA 0 and 1 there's something there but nothing on SATA 2 or 3.

There's no step 4.. to follow.

OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (upgraded from Vista Basic when unit purchased)
Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
System Type X86-based PC
Processor AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 3600+, 2009 Mhz, 1 Core(s), 1 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. 1.0.13, 2/9/2009
SMBIOS Version 2.5
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 2.94 GB
Available Physical Memory 1.62 GB
Total Virtual Memory 5.87 GB
Available Virtual Memory 4.16 GB
Page File Space 2.94 GB

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process explorer
by Oh_Deer / January 2, 2013 9:27 PM PST

what I notice.. there are a lot of instances of svchost.exe and 2 occurrences of adobe flash player. when I go to uninstall programs.. there's adobe flash plugin and adobe flash activeX. . I'm assuming they're actually different programs?

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clean boot..
by Oh_Deer / January 2, 2013 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: process explorer

I'm not a techie..

"Note When you perform a clean boot, you may temporarily lose some functionality. When you start the computer as usual, the functionality returns. However, you may receive the original error message. Or, you may experience the original behavior.

This information is not intended to troubleshoot specific problems."

I really won't know what I'm looking for or at, what is safe to do and whatever else.

"Note This step lets Microsoft services continue to run. These services include Networking, Plug and Play, Event Logging, Error Reporting, and other services. If you disable these services, you may permanently delete all restore points." << for example

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Thank you for the response.
by Manpreet_C Dell staff / January 2, 2013 10:00 PM PST
In reply to: process explorer

Thank you for the response.

You can install Process Explorer and select 'Show details for all processes'; check the programs that show svchost.exe as a process.
Once, you determine which service is causing the issue, you can try to restart the service or uninstall and re-install the application.
Moreover, the ActiveX is for Internet Explorer and the plugin is for all other browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari).

Thanks and Regards,
Manpreet C

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Upgrade to Windows 7
by Manpreet_C Dell staff / January 2, 2013 9:29 PM PST

Thank you for the response.

If the utility partition is not accessible, it might be missing or corrupted.
If you have the Drivers & Utilities CD, you can use that to run the diagnostics:
1. Insert the Cd and turn on (or restart) your computer.
2. When the Dell logo appears, press <F12> 2-3 times.
3. Insert the Drivers and Utilities Disc in the compute
4. From the list, choose IDE/CD ROM drive
5. When the 'Press any key to boot from the CD or DVD' message appears, press Enter instantly. If you wait for more than 5 seconds, you will have to start again.
6. Select Boot from CD-ROM option from the CD boot menu.
7. Select 'Run the 32 Bit Dell Diagnostics' or 'Test system', press Enter.
8. Select 'Express Test' and share the error code(s), if any.

Could you please share the results of the other troubleshooting steps suggested.

Thanks and Regards,
Manpreet C

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no utility no cd
by Oh_Deer / January 3, 2013 3:55 AM PST
In reply to: Upgrade to Windows 7

I don't have the cd.. and the system says there is no utility to work with.. either by tapping F12 or downloading the 32 bit Dell diagnostic here. Cool

There is an application titled Dell pc diagnostics but when I click on that.. nothing happens. Plain

I downloaded the file - hard drive type from that link above and put in a cd as where to store it.. but, there are only 2 text files on the cd (after it said it successfully went there) which say that when the system reboots with the cd, the info will be on the C: drive. Aaarrrgghhh. I am so tired of trying to fix this problem, I'm near fixing the whole thing but good, with a hammer! Sad

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Just so folk know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2013 4:01 AM PST
In reply to: cpu peaking a LOT

You have cross posted and from the looks of the discussions, nothing looks wrong with the PC. The CPU meter does indeed spike on Windows. I will share that one client found this annoying and demanded a fix. It was a good paying client so we did cure it with a Windows setting to limit the CPU use to some lower number. Yes, the machine ran a little slower but the client thought the problem solved.

Why should we disagree?

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by Oh_Deer / January 3, 2013 4:44 AM PST
In reply to: Just so folk know.

I appreciate your answer. I posted here first, thinking.. Dell - forum., then posted in spyware cuz I thought that would be more relevant.

'Cutting to the chase'.. I have Sims 3 on this pc and since it's been peaking so much at 100, or since I noticed it's done this.. the game takes 'forever' (1+ hr/s on the last loading screen before play) to load, will freeze in spots, and there are sims who are just squiggly lines if even visible in the game at all.. indicated by a seemingly empty character box on the left..

(I don't know if it's relevant to this problem but I get script errors noticeably on fb in particular and my browser will flash here and there.)

and. .. what led me to do this.. is the guy from Best Buy who said that there was most likely something malicious running in the background and my severe lack of funds to remedy the problem at the hands of someone else. There must be something I can do to get this solved and then prevented.

So, that being said.. do you think resetting what you mentioned would help?

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My wife's high end laptop with an i7 CPU on Sims 3
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2013 4:52 AM PST
In reply to: grateful

Those CPU meters spike a lot. It's quite the app and we could limit the CPU load with settings in the OS but then what is the CPU in there for ?

-> Script errors are legendary. I think you should ask that on its own.

That browser flashing issue varies with the web page content and your PC. I'm not going to apologize for the industry but the PC is a hodge podge slap dash design from decades ago. If you wanted a newer design that would tackle all but the CPU spike issues (remember it's fine for a CPU meter to spike) then you don't want a Windows PC.

I don't think resetting anything will help as what your complaint is about (CPU meter spike) is expected but it appears folk are not ready to tell you that. Maybe they want you to buy new computers?

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oh my
by Oh_Deer / January 3, 2013 5:02 AM PST

"I don't think resetting anything will help as what your complaint is about (CPU meter spike) is expected but it appears folk are not ready to tell you that. Maybe they want you to buy new computers?"

or just make a sale of some sort, as the process of virus removal runs $150+, in either case..

I can't afford it. Cry

I appreciate *all* of your time.. guess I'm stuck. (s.o.l.)

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Not really stuck.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 3, 2013 5:17 AM PST
In reply to: oh my

I think I wrote about a client that insisted on some "cure". We know we can limit the CPU use but then we get to wait longer.


Now that's not about flashing of the browser web pages but one of the side effects of that acceleration can be less than steller browser page drawing (sometimes called rendering.)

--> I see THREE TOOLS TO LIMIT THE CPU use at this next link.


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