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General discussion

XP "System Idle Process" out of control!

Nov 7, 2007 8:19AM PST

I have a serious problem. Each time I boot my computer it goes through the normal start up procedures and loads everything. Once complete my computer immediately begins an idle process that slows down my computer ridiculously! I don't see how there even can be an idle process when I am using the computer. The LED light that signals the computer thinking is solid and never blinks and the sound my hard drive being read is always going. I have included a picture of the Task Manager.

I have tried to kill the process several times but I am "denied access" from doing so. Any help or suggestions for this problem would be GREATLY appreciated!

By the way...
I'm running Windows XP media edition with 1GB of RAM and a Centrino processor.
Hope that helps.

Discussion is locked

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Nov 7, 2007 8:28AM PST

When it's at 99 percent that means the Windows OS is doing nothing. All unused cycles are supposed to be in that process. Sorry, have you used NT, Windows 2000 or XP before?


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Perfect? you sure?
Nov 7, 2007 8:39AM PST

Yes I have been using it for a long time. XP that is.

Are you sure this is good, because my computer is really slow from it. At the moment the symptoms I described have stopped. It seems to do this the first 30 minutes after start up and then it just stops and my computer is back to normal. The process shown here may not even be part of this problem. I just figured that it was the only thing running when I noticed these problems. Even right now after it has stopped, that process is still at 95-99. So maybe I jumped the gun here.

Any thoughts as to what this could be?

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Please check another machine.
Nov 7, 2007 8:45AM PST

Yes, it's exactly how it should be when the CPU is not busy.

I decline to discuss this further since that's a dead end and you need to focus elsewhere. Feel free to research that more but I won't write another word...

Let's knock down another area now -> Read

This area will result in a sluggish machine.


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Ok thanks you for your help...
Nov 7, 2007 8:49AM PST

lol you did write another word after that. Just Kidding but thats for the help and the link to that website.

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You may also want to consider..
Nov 7, 2007 8:01PM PST

your list of Processes.

At over 60 this seems a little excessive, although if System idle is at 99% then there doesn't seem to be too much wrong with your system.

Each computer is different of course and there is no 'optimum' for how many processes should be running in the background, but the more processes you have the more RAM is used up and this can slow down your computer's performance.

Perhaps some of these processes are not needed? Google will help you decide which are necessary and which are not, in a process of elimination.


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Of course it is.
Nov 8, 2007 8:50AM PST

The "system idle" process is the amount of CPU and resources *NOT* being used, so an idle process of 99% means that there is only roughly 1% of the CPU in operation. The idle process along with the System process are absolutely critical, and are bound down to security at the very Kernel level of the OS - even the Administrators cannot access such low level parts, which is why you can't do jack to stop it!

I think the real issue is the fact that you Hard Drive is being so strenous on itself. Obviously if it is I/Oing constantly then when programs call for access to memory or hard disk read and write they are only going to get so much attention, thus causing slowdowns. Malware maybe? Run scans, etc.

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CNET is wrong
Sep 24, 2010 6:32AM PDT

Idle time should not take over your computer. If everything is truly idle it will only run at a few percent. Your car engine doesn't race when you are parked and neither should your CPU, the CNET tech isn't thinking right. The total CPU usage doesn't have to be 100%, in fact, it seldom is. I think the modern HD spends the idle time 'defraging' if needed as it is an automatic function now, but I'm guessing there, I don't know for sure. It should eventually stop. I used to think it was a virus, it could be, but mine does it every once in a while too, particularly if there was a recent large data move. Let it run, walk away, it should finish eventually.

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Sep 24, 2010 6:40AM PDT

I guess I never looked at it when it wasn't 'running'. I stand corrected, it does register near 100% when nothing is going on. Mine just ran for 10 minutes (the HD) but it is silent now, it got finished doing what ever it was doing after a data move of over 20 Mb.

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idle process normal/ HDD read not normal
Nov 7, 2007 10:44PM PST

"The LED light that signals the computer thinking is solid and never blinks
and the sound my hard drive being read is always going."

I would scan this system for root kits, Viruses and Spyware.

It might also be Google desktop search or Windows indexing services.
Tho with "svchost" using 62MB of memory I'd check for pests first.


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...i think you're on to something!
Nov 8, 2007 8:27AM PST

Now that you mention it, the last time I tried to scan my computer for viruses my anti-virus software crashed about 1/3 of the way in. I thought that was strange and ran the scan again. 1/3 of the way through again it crashed in the same spot. What I found interesting was that the same 3 items kept coming up and would not allow me to remove them. they were the tracking cookies on my system (normal) and a key logger that made me really nervous.
I just read about the root kits. I never really knew what they were and did, and that sounds tooooo familiar. As far as Google desktop...I know what it does to your system and I will NEVER install that crappy piece of software.

Since my anti-virus crashes, does anyone have any suggestions about getting a potential root kit out?

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screen shots of crash
Nov 8, 2007 8:42AM PST
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Keylogger = BAD. Very bad.
Nov 8, 2007 9:45AM PST

You've found a good reason here for both crashes and speed loss.

-> The only good time to find pests is when you find none.


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Head on over to our Viruses, spyware and security forum
Nov 9, 2007 1:50AM PST
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Battery might be the problem
Nov 12, 2007 6:38AM PST

I had the same problem, and I was quite surprised to find that my battery seemed to cause the problem. By some feat of God I decided to remove the battery, and all of a sudden the computer worked fine again. To verify that the battery was the problem I inserted it again, and the problem was back.

What adds to my confusion is that I was able to run XP in safe mode even when the battery was not removed.

I have an Acer by the way.

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Idel Process
Jun 20, 2010 10:41AM PDT

Thanks for help.