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Why is my CPU running at 100 percent, when only three windows are open?!


Windows XP: Why is my CPU running at 100 percent, when only three windows are open?!

I run Windows XP (Home Edition)on my system and frequently find that the number of processes running can be as high as 63, with the CPU usage rising to 100 percent and a commit charge of 943M/2313M. I should add that this happens with only two or three windows open but minimized.

This completely takes over my PC and virtually brings it to a non-useful condition. Can anyone please tell me what can be done to help me safely bring the amount of processes down as I don't believe that all 63 are needed? Many thanks and kind regards.

--Submitted by Patrick N. , London, United Kingdom

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Troubleshooting a slow PC --Submitted by Droid

Why is my CPU running at 100 percent --Submitted by Fatboy71

Runaway processes... --Submitted by Wolfie2k5

Check your processes & scan for viruses --Submitted by si

Try an "empty" start --Submitted by TreknologyNet

CPU at 100% running answer --Submitted by seking0011

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have some additional recommendations or advice for Patrick, please click on the reply link and submit it. Please be as detailed as possbile when providing a solution. Thanks!
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CPU running at 100%

Basically CPU run at 100% ussage because it arrive at the maximum load considering no viruses. Therefore it need to upgrade your computer either to change or increase the size of your Hard disk, RAM and other ugradable parts need in the operation of you unit. Check also or clean uninstalled program, elimanate remnants that sometime causes too.

Thats all and more power to everyone!


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More than likely its either SPYWARE, MALWARE, ADWARE running on your might have a bunch of programs starting up with your computer which would max out the cpu at startup..BUT...after a few minutes should level out at no more than 20-50% at the most...if your cpu is at 100% after that time than your infected.

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I wonder how many you'll find

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Have you cleaned the fan/heat sink of CPU

Every two years I dismantle the fan on top of the CPU chip and clean both it and the heat sink. This really does make a difference to air flow and cooling. You will need to observe anti static precautions and have thermal paste for reassembly so Google these and learn about them.

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A good idea,but...

Your solution is very good but takes a lot of time and some skills. However a can of compressed air used judiciously can do the same job much more easily. Do blow the power unit from inside out.

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Why is my CPU running at 100 percent, when only three window

I have exactly this problem on a 2GB machine and it always occurs with Mozilla Firefox - but not all the time - it suddenly occurs and I am alerted by the slowness of my computer. The Performance shows 100% and the firefox Process can rise to 90% plus.

In this case, the only solution I have found is to delete Firefox and reload. Does anyone have a more permanent solution - I would like to stay using Firefox?

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Problems with svchost process

Having similar problems from time to time I carefully read through all the answers, hoping to find a solution for my problems as well. From time to time my notebook (XP Pro) completely hangs for a couple of seconds up to some minutes and I always found an MS process causing the issues. In most cases it is one of the several svchost processes, taking 100% of the CPU and locking out everything else. The quick solution is to simply kill this process to go on. However, this may cause not having access to one or the other network resource (e.g. network share) any more until the system is re-booted.
Does any one know more about this phenomenon?

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CPU running 100%

Maybe too late to submit my answer.
You may have a HP printer and the driver is looking for additional printers or changes in them continuously.
Download #Process Explorer# from Microsoft.
Examine the lines that give you the most CPU utilisation and check who it is. Chances are it will be a SVCHOST. Check that line. If it is a service by HP, go into services and deny or delete that service.
You may have to boot to finish that.

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already said

Do you have important documents,if you have copy them on CD or external hd,and reinstall sistem.I don't see problem with reinstalling,if you don't know how to,search google or ask somebody to do it.Good luck with your problem.FEM@

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Given information is not sufficient to suggest an answer.

Try with increasing the virtual memory.

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It might be virus or damaged OS.
Please visit following link:
There search for every process you have in task manager or simply download scanner
Also try with these repair tools located on Uniblue site

Well you have to pay to use them but they are very useful.
There's no need to worry about this site and software's cause Uniblue is Microsoft gold partner.

Also try scanning your system and if it detects problem try fixing it using your Windows OS CD/DVD,well i forgot steps so you will need to find it on your own.
Good luck with fixing this problem Happy

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CPU 100%

I had that problem before, all I did was a system restore on my old gateway,that take care all virus to but before you do it make sure you back all your file that you need, and driver to,you can get the drive free on line, and have help that someone to reload your driver,I just did it again to my new toshiba,got it on 2009,It came back to life like I just got it out from the box,and I did not even have to reload any driver, good job to toshiba from 1 to 10 this get a 12.

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Has your problem been solved yet?

Did a quick browse of the forum and didn't see this one.

If I recall properly, when I was running windows xp a few pc's back I had the exact same problem! All would be fine then !It would grind to a halt! Anyway after a quick search online I found my problem..."Windows Defender" was doing a full systems scan!!
To solve this, just open Windows defender, select TOOLS then OPTIONS then set a day and time for it to do it's auto-scans ( or turn it off like I did and do manual scans every-now and again).
From there on it never groung to a halt on me again.

Hope this helps you or someone else.

Have fun!

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problems with links provided

The first link you provided does not work " 404-Not found', second link provides instant downloading to unknown .exe file.

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Did you try using Windows Safe Mode?

Boot into "Safe Mode" by pressing the F8 key when the computer is starting up. Choose Safe Mode and wait for it to boot up. Open Task Manager. Is it still using 100% cpu power? In Safe Mode the list of Processes should be much shorter .....

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100% CPU useage

Sofar I think this is the clearest answer. To speed up any computer. Remove processes, scan for problems, delete cookies,history etc, increase mem. Any programs installed with(RUN) instead of (SAVE) uninstall and reinstall. Sounds good for most problems. Stay away from Screensavers and dest-tops that have high kb downloads. Always have big cookies tied to them.

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Theres no reason why you should have 63 processes running clearly you have a lot of startup programs so what you need to do is click Start>Run and then type "msconfig" and hit ok, then in the window that pops up go to the "Startup" tab and uncheck everything that seems unnecesary, basically everything that isnt part of any anti-virus that you may have, then go to the "Services" tab and click the check box for "Hide All Microsoft Services" and uncheck everything that isnt part of some anti virus, click apply then ok and restart your computer, if it doesnt let you apply the settings or you get some kind of error then try booting up in safe mode by pressing F8 before the computer starts up and windows loads and try it from there

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Check processes running on computer

First of all, having too few memory or a small (i.e. slow) hard drive are not reasons for CPU to run @ 100%. They are reasons for your computer to be slower but they cannot (significantly) increase your processor load.
You must check the processes running on your computer and see which are those overloading the CPU. While you can use TaskManager for this, in certain cases this one is not enough because there are processes (like svchost) which you do not see who opened them. I would suggest using the Sysinternals (free from Microsoft) suite (Process Explorer program). This program will show you which are the processes overloading the CPU and more important which program launched each process.
While theret is a chance that one of your opened applications to overload your CPU, most probably one or more of the background services is the culprit. These may be legit services (installed by applications you installed on your computer) or they may be malware.
If they are legit services, you may chose to remove them from start-up (and ehere would help you another program rom Sysinternals - Autoruns). If it is malware, then you will need to clean the computer.

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Might be the Processor

I'm not a techie to give you great answers. I encountered this problem regularly..and this is almost fixed and I'm able to run my machine.

In case you are using a AMD Turion Processor, then it might be a problem. This process gets heated very soon. If you can control the processor speed, they you may do that.

The computer gets halted when the processor speed is at its best. Do not let it run on its best, rather run it on low.

Check the kind of video codec you are using. If this is not the right one for your machine, you might still end up with 100% CPU usage.

These two stuff should help you run your machine efficiently.

Try it!

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CPU running at 100 %

My fan was coming on ALL the time, and been driving me crazy slowing down my computer. I finally took off the one very slow program, AD-AWARE, and that helped a lot. I also took off one other large Google program (Chrome). Then, I had one final problem. If I try to work on the computer when it has been on idle too long, the fan comes on. So, now I dont try to use it when it has been idling too long. I give it time to "wake up". My bottom line is - take off programs which are slow, and let it wake up before using it. The fan is not coming on anymore. Big RELIEF. That is my very untechnical answer to a bad problem.

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CPU running at 100%

Download Iobit advance system care it is a registry cleaner and cleans the system of junk files and viruses its a free download.

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CPU running @ 100 percent

Its of a virus attack. Use a good antivirus software

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I have three of these apps on my PC. Can I get rid of them?

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Yes It is Possible

Apps can be very hard to get rid of. I have in the past had to spend 10-12 hours to remove everything tied to each app. I just had to let my security Norton remove an upsetting virus/program named Personal Security a horrible Trojan Virus and lately MaCafee sent out a virus that was tied to one of it's security updates. Stay away from MaCafee Please!! How much RAM are you using. My PCU usage went way way down when I maxxed out my RAM but one can over do it with RAM upgrading. It all depends on what OS you are running and how much RAM it will support.I can gladly help you some what with telling you how to remove those apps but it a lot of work!!

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Apps Away!!

Sure you can get rid of those Apps. Go to My Computer and then Open up C:Drive and go to Downloads and look for those Apps there. If they are in that folder delete each and every one of them. You can then go to Control Panel then Add/Remove Programs and look for any of those App programs that may be in there and remove them.Also any folder you see these Apps in delete them.

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Good idea to get rid of as many applications as you can. But, I recommend you use REVO UNINSTALLER to do it instead of MS uninstall. REVO will check your REGISTRY for any entries left over and any stray files that were associated with what you uninstalled and clean them up.

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Hope this helps

I had this problem a while back-

sounds like a memory leak problem i suffered from a long time ago -

My memory is very sketchy but i think a duff winows update caused this.

I'd bet money on a process called wualt Casuing the memory spike right???

I had to download a proces tree program to figure out what was causing this irritating problem.

Simple solution that worked for me- disable windows updates and boot without this service running,

iirc you can take this of the startup from -
run : msconfig-

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Two fixes

Fix one: More memory, like everyone says, but then when you install more and more programs it'll sooner or later just slow down again; it's a Windows thing.

Fix Two: I don't have time to read through all these responses, so forgive me if someone has already suggested this. use the Task Manager (CONTROL/ALT/DEL), but instead of just looking at the [total]CPU usage, look at CPU usage of the individual tasks and find out what's going on. There's probably one rude task dogging your machine. It might even be malware. In any case, if it's just one task, find out what it is by Googling it and if it's a stupid, unnecessary thing, turn it off in MSConfig. If it's kind of an even split between a few tasks, you'll still know a lot more because I'm REAL sure it isn't your three minimized windows.

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Go to WINDOWS SYSINTERNALS web site. Then click on PROCESS UTILITIES. Now run PROCESS EXPLORER to see what is burning up your CPU. This can be particularly handy if you you need to analyze those pesky SVCHOST.EXE programs. Now just right click on the process you are interested in and when the window opens go down and click on SEARCH ONLINE. This takes you to your search engine and you can read all about the process that might be causing the trouble. I like PROCESS EXPLORER because it helps you ferret out malware and lets you kill it.

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