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CPU 100% Computer Freezes! Apps set to high priority!

I don't know if this is the right forum but here goes...

I'm not computer-stupid but this problem has got me puzzled. Explorer.exe takes up 99% CPU and the computer freezes. If I end the task and RUN it again it jumps straight to 99!

But that was just the beginning. Now, any randomn program jumps to 99% for no reason.

Could it be spyware or a virus? Haven't found any yet. Now I run what I believe is a pretty good system protection. Spybot, Spyguard, Microsofts Beta, and AVAST free. I also know every process in the Task manager so I can detect any new intruder. But there is none.
I began to recieve about a dozen MICROSOFT ERROR REPORTS on start-up. This is hell! It says its a driver problem.
But I haven't installed anything conflicting recently. My suspicions fall on SUPER UTILITIES that I installed in the morning. I uninstalled that but still no good.

I did a system restore to 5 days back when I can be sure I was running fine, but to no avail.

Can anybody please point me to a possible solution? Is there anyway I can post a system log that might help?
Here is a brief:

WINXP PRO SP1
512MB RAM
Firefox


In my long experience, I've never had anything like this! I'm at my wits end!

TIA


DB,

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additional

In reply to: CPU 100% Computer Freezes! Apps set to high priority!

oops, I forgot one thing, and as there appears to be no EDIT button, here it is:

In the title, I mentioned "apps set to high priority". What I meant was that some apps/tasks are changing their priority levels on their own(in task amanager).

Onless I've changed anything, all tasks are set to normal. Right? But I've caught Explorer.exe setting it self to LOW and HIGH! And task manager setting itself to HIGH.

What is going on?

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Only SP1?

In reply to: CPU 100% Computer Freezes! Apps set to high priority!

That's probably your primary problem. You should have installed SP2 ages ago, since it containes a number of security fixes not found anywhere else. It also fixes a number of exploits that don't require you to be running IE in order to work.

From the sound of things, my initial thought is someone has hijacked your system and is using it for nefarious means. Given you can't seem to find any spyware or viruses, my guess would be someone set up a software dump site on your system. You may well have a bunch of pirated software on your system, and your system is acting as a server. If I'm right, this makes yours the door the cops will come knocking on.

Check to see if you seem to have considerably less disk space than usual. Also, does your Internet connection seem a bit sluggish since this started happening?

Right now would be an excellent time to learn how to make an SP2 slipstreamed XP install CD, becuase you may well end up having to format. At the very least, you should install SP2 now. Just be sure to back things up, because if you have spyware, SP2 may well corrupt things and force a format.

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yes, only SP1

In reply to: Only SP1?

Until I'm quite sure this problem is due to SP1, I doubt I'll update. I really hate all that messy work and fear I'll get incompatibility issues with some of my software or more. I've had SP1 for a long time and it seems fine.

And I don't run IE nor need to use for anything. I have firefox and have opera for backup.

As for hijacked, I don't see any of the symptoms either than system degration. Thought internet has became fairly sluggish I attribute it to the overall system drag. I have a very good shield for my cable internet. I've run many port scans with secure results. All of them are safe.

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CPU & Error Reporting?

In reply to: CPU 100% Computer Freezes! Apps set to high priority!

Part I:

Memory, Speed, and Performance May Decrease

1. The article [Q310419] describes issues concerning computer speed and decreased performance caused by programs loaded at startup, programs that create memory leaks, and the situation when a computer has a small or minimal amount of random access memory (RAM), or a slower central processing unit (CPU).

2. The article [Q822430] explains that when you click a large Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) file in Explorer, Windows may stop responding (hang), you notice that the Explorer.exe process consumes 100 percent of CPU usage for up to two hours or more and occurs when Windows tries to query the index of the file which isn't there and then attemps to build one. Read the TweakXP tip ''AVI files causing high cpu usage again with installation of XP SP1'' to prevent Explorer from loading shmedia.dll in response to their file property queries causing 100% cpu usage.

3. The article [Q314056] describes Svchost.exe (%SystemRoot%\System32 folder), the generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs), can run in multiple instances at the same time and each session can contain a grouping of services so they can run depending on how and where it is started. Please note, the built-in ''Task Scheduler'' -- a ''huge word that'' (Schedsvc.dll) component is made up of the MSTask.exe service file and a user interface (UI) component in MSTask.dll that you can use through Windows Explorer or through Control Panel and is hosted by the file Svchost.exe in the Netsvcs group.

Note: If you feel a service stared and running is to blamed for the excessive CPU usage, use the procedure in [Q316434] to stop services one at a time simply for the purpose of determining which one could be causing the anomaly. ''Starter'' is yet another free startup manager that allows you to view and manage all the programs that are starting automatically whenever Windows boots. It lists all the hidden registry entries, as well as the common Startup Folder items. You can choose to safely disable selected entries, edit them or delete them altogether (if you know what you're doing). Expert users can even add their own entries.

4. When a Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) application is run on WinXP, a memory leaks for Graphics Device Interface (GDI) objects may be seen when creating and destroying child windows and can be observed in the GDI objects of the process in Task Manager. This can occur when a program make many calls to the StgCreateDocFile function to create compound storage objects and causes a 512-byte memory leak to occur - an error, STG_E_FILEALREADYEXISTS (0x80030050). To resolve problems of this type when applicable, ''Obtain the Latest Windows XP Service Pack'' described in [Q319740].

5. The article [Q309073] states that by sending a particular set of commands to an affected system, an attacker could gradually deplete resources on the system to the point where performance could be slowed or stopped altogether. The vulnerability results because the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) service that either ships with or can be installed does not correctly handle certain requests and can cause a memory leak.

6. The article [Q315000] states that unchecked buffer in Universal Plug and Play can lead to System Compromise and describes two vulnerabilities that affect the implementation of UPnP in various products. Although the vulnerabilities are unrelated, both involve how UPnP-capable computers process the discovery of new devices on the network. To resolve this problem obtain the latest sevice pack for Windows XP.

7. Laptop users may experience this problem if the power policy changes because of an AC/DC transition while the computer is using the ''Max Battery'' power scheme. When the computer is running at 100 percent CPU usage, the computer never enters the idle loop in which the speed of the CPU is dynamically adjusted based on demand and current policy values. The supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in, [Q330512].

8. Open Task Manager and click the Processes tab to see a list of ''running processes'' (click to see a screen shot) - click the CPU column header to sort the list of processes by their CPU utilization as desired.

a. You may find that if the Microsoft Indexing Service (Cidaemon.exe) is used and a cause for high CPU utilization.

b. In Task Manager, you can right-click an active program or process and change the amount of CPU power it gets until it's closed, which then reverts back to the XP's default assignment -- Low, BelowNormal, Normal, AboveNormal, High and Realtime.

9. While on the subject of CPU usage and how to tell -- or should I say ''attempt to tell'', I wonder if Microsoft really fixed things for XP. Referencing an older published article [Q227131], it explains that the System Monitor tool may display incorrect CPU Usage that can occur for any of the following reasons, and which you can safely ignore since it is not indicative of a problem:

? CPU usage rises to somewhere between 20-60 percent even though you are not running any programs.
? CPU usage declines sharply when you move your mouse.
? CPU usage declines sharply either when you run Windows Media Player or play a .wav file.
? CPU usage rises when you dial-up to connect.
? CPU usage does not fall from 100 percent.

Note: In addition, the older article [Q178563] states that if you use System Monitor to monitor more than one occurrence of ''Kernel: Processor Usage,'' the second and following occurrences of ''Kernel: Processor Usage'' show 100 percent processor usage. As a workaround to this behavior, use only one occurrence of ''Kernel: Processor Usage'' in System Monitor, or use two separate occurrences of System Monitor.

10.The article [Q819946] explains a problem and the possible fix that when you right-click an item (such as a file, a folder, or a network connection) in Windows Explorer or in My Computer, other programs may temporarily stop performing a task. In addition, if you start Windows Task Manager (right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then click it), you may notice on the Processes tab that the Explorer.exe process is using a lot (or 100 percent) of the CPU resources.

Part II:

1. Error Reporting which is enabled by default displays an error dialog box prompting the user to indicate whether or not they want to report the problem. When choosing to report the problem, technical information about the problem is collected and then sent to Microsoft over the Internet. If a report is rendered and if a similar problem has been reported by other people and more information is available, a link to that information will be provided the user. Turning it ON or turning it OFF is the user's call. For assistance and resolution, we would need to know WHAT cause(s) is/are reported.

a. Were there no links or anything else provided should you submit the report?

b. Please. For your benefit, always report the error information this report contains when wanting our analyses.

2. When a system error occurs, the computer displays a blue screen containing error codes and all computer operations stop. When an illegal operation or other error occurs in a program, that program stops working. System and program errors may be transmitted to Microsoft which allows them to track and address operating system, Windows component, and program errors. Error Reporting configuration is outlined in, [Q310414]:

a. Enable or disable
b. Enable for the operating system
c. Specify the program for which a report is generated
d. Remove programs from the list
e. Send an error report to Microsoft

3. Supplemental reading:

a. ''Description and Availability of Internet Explorer Error Reporting Tool (Q276550).''

b. ''No Date or Time Information Available When Program Stops Responding in Windows 98 or Windows Me (Q280660).''

c. ''How to Disable or Redirect Internet Explorer Error Reporting (Q310116).''

d. ''How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows XP (Q310353).''

e. ''HOW TO: Configure and Use Error Reporting in Windows XP (Q310414).''

f. ''Preparation Before You Contact Microsoft After Receiving a STOP Message on a Blue Screen (Q314103).''

g. ''You Receive a ''System Has Recovered from a Serious Error'' Message After Every Restart (Q317277).''

4. Many users question what the file ''Appcompat.txt'' is, besides assuming that IT is the error itself, which is a file generated by the WinXP compatibilit
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WIld shot.

In reply to: CPU 100% Computer Freezes! Apps set to high priority!

I found such a machine. The background DESKTOP image was corrupt in some odd way and Explorer was apparently trying to figure it out. Setting the background to none cured that one.

There's just too little in this post to bring up much else other than to ask what you do about spyware.

Bob

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i'll keep it in mind

In reply to: WIld shot.

Well, I keep changing my desktop image alot with my image viewer ACDSee, so I can't see how it can become corrupt. I'll keep it in mind tho, and try when explorer.exe starts acting up. At the moment things have calmed down, thought my system is still dragging. Awful slow. Firefox takes ages to start and sometimes doesn't start at all but takes up a huge amount of CPU and can't be killed.

What do you mean, ''what do you do about spyware''? I mentioned that I scan regularly and the programs I run to protect.

[quote]There's just too little in this post[/quote]

Just tell me what to provide.

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When dealing with this issue. Try no wallpaper.

In reply to: i'll keep it in mind

It's a known area that I keep running into.

As to spyware, here's the post and links to tools that I propose. Use them all -> http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6132-0.html?forumID=32&threadID=1313&messageID=15002

As to information, keep writing. Here's a clue. You just mentioned ACDSEE and some integration with the desktop. Such can be an issue, but no one can tell what else is not stock.

Try this. Create a NEW ACCOUNT, login on that account and see if the problem follows you. If not, what is different between accounts?

Bob

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