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[SOLVED] High CPU usage at rest

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] High CPU usage at rest within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I'm running a fully updated copy of Windows XP, and I've been having a problem playing HD on BBC iPlayer,


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Old 04-05-2012, 03:18 AM   #1
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I'm running a fully updated copy of Windows XP, and I've been having a problem playing HD on BBC iPlayer, which caused me to open up Task Manager to see what was going on with resources.

I found that resources were maxing out when playing HD movies, however, when I close everything down, other than Task Manager, I find that my CPU usage is showing as between 70 to 80% all of the time. Which I believe is the cause of my problems when running HD. I have replaced the video card with a 1 GB Sapphire HD5450, and as the CPU is a AMD Athlon 3200, I think the system should be able to cope with HD movies.

The same high CPU reading at rest shows in TM with Systems Tray in diagnostic mode.

I have run Trend Micro Housecall, etc, but no threats have been shown.

I've cleaned out the registry with Regseeker, but that hasn't made any difference either.

I've switched off AVG, Windows Firewall, and Windows auto update, none of which makes any difference to the high CPU reading at rest.

Although the CPU is an old model, it's not had that many hours of usage, and in every other way the system is running OK: no overheating, no closures or lock-ups.

The only other symptom is a very slight lag when opening up browsers, etc, but not to the extent that if affects using the computer; and the occasional sound of disk activity.

The most likely answer seems to be that there is something running on this computer that I don't know about, but if it's not malware, or a background application, what can it be?

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this problem.

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Old 04-05-2012, 07:14 AM   #2
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HiJackThis does an in-depth scan of everything that's running on your system, including rootkits. Give it a try and post the log file it generates.

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Old 04-05-2012, 07:39 AM   #3
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I assume that there are no processes shown in Task Manager using high CPU usage. The post doesn't actually say this. If that is the case download "Process Explorer" from here:
Process Explorer

Check the "Interrupts" CPU usage. It is shown as a process but that is only for convenience. If this is high it would be an indicator of a hardware or driver issue. Other wise you most likely have malware.

Note that only the analysts on the Virus/Trojan/Spyware Help section of the forum are permitted to provide help with malware removal. Follow the instructions here:
http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f50/new-instructions-read-this-before-posting-for-malware-removal-help-305963.html

That forum does not use the HiJackThis log initially, although it may be requested later.

Registry cleaners should be avoided as they usually cause more problems than they solve.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:47 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your replies.

Process Explorer shows two fluctuating readings:

Systems Idle Process - 20 to 30

Interrupts - 65 to 78

Which I have to admit doesn't mean a lot to me ... ?
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Systems Idle Process - 20 to 30
System Idle means exactly that. 20-30% of the time, the system is idle and is not using any processor at all.
In Process Explorer go to the CPU column, is there any process that is using 100% of the processor for any length of time? Other then just spiking occasionally. If so, you then have a problem. You can right click the process and find out which program it belongs to.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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The only usage data in the CPU column are the two I mention above, plus Process Explorer itself.

Hopefully I'm looking at the right data - the page I'm looking at is the: "Process Tree" page?

The Process page in PE (with the graph) shows a consistent usage of around 70% - much the same as Task Manager.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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This evening I removed the graphics driver and ran Driver Sweeper before reinstalling - no difference made to high CPU usage at rest.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #8
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High interrupts (DPI) = bad driver usually. DPC Latency Checker enables you to see the problem, download and troubleshooting info: DPC Latency Checker
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:29 AM   #9
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DPC Latency checker doesn't show any high or red readings when run from the desktop with no other programs open.

When downloading various tools to try and solve this I've had My Start Incredibar palmed off on me, so now I've got a secondary problem. Have run the usual malware cleaners, which haven't touched it, and I've deleted all visible signs from the registry, to no avail. This follows having gone through the usual uninstall process.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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As you suspected malware earlier in the OP and you've recently had extra spyware or worse installed, I'd advise you to run the standard malware steps here and create a thread with the necessary logs, full details: NEW INSTRUCTIONS - Read This Before Posting For Malware Removal Help

The new thread will need to be posted as stated close to the bottom of the instructions page; we are not allowed, or qualified, to check for malware in this section.

Once your machine has been given the all clear, and if you still have the CPU issue, you can continue here.
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #11
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Thanks satrow, will do.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:20 AM   #12
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Things became so bad that I had to reinstall Windows.

I'm pretty sure that the final damage came about as the result of secondary problems caused when trying to fix the original matter.

Having done a complete and full reinstall of XP, the same problem came back immediately after installing Windows Updates SP3!

So once again, TM is showing around 70% CPU usage with nothing else open, and there's very little else on the computer!

Stumped!!!

Any ideas guys?
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:37 AM   #13
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More details please Peter: which processes are highest in TM?

Have you updated to the latest drivers for the 'board chipset and graphice card?

Which antivirus do you have installed now? Has it run a full scan yet?
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:51 AM   #14
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Trend Micro is probably scanning in the background. Uninstall TM and try installing Microsoft Security Essentials see if that works better for you
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Thank you both for your replies.

I took a reading with TM (Task Manager) and got the high reading before installing any AV - which is now Avast's free version.

SP3 was down loaded from MS site - called the 'developer's pack', or something like that.

As far as I know the chipset drivers and graphics are the latest ones, but I will double check that.

There is quite a bit posted on the net about SP3 causing this issue, but I have been unable to find anything re a solution. One suggestion on the net is that this can happen with SP3 when downloaded through Window's Updates, but I didn't use that method.

The only high reading in TM Processes is 'System Idle', which is 90+.

This problem with SP3 has obviously been the problem all along, i.e. since I last installed XP on this computer some 6 months ago, and has been the cause of the problem I have been having with running BBC iPlayer in HD.

Most of what I use this computer for doesn't involve much in the way of CPU capacity, so I've been using what was left at the top end, i.e. the upper available 25% of CPU capacity.

As this is a known issue, I can't understand why Microsoft haven't bothered to fix whatever is causing it in SP3.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petercj View Post
The only high reading in TM Processes is 'System Idle', which is 90+.
This indicates that the CPU work rate during the period was less than 10%. That's pretty normal.

Your original problem, "playing HD on BBC iPlayer", is more likely to be caused by a lack of hardware acceleration in the web browser (Flash), thus off-loading the work the HD5450 should be doing to the CPU.

Right click on the Flash player in your browser > select Settings > select Display (left tab) > make sure 'Enable hardware acceleration' is checked.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:56 PM   #17
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The high usage dropped down to a reasonable level after uninstalling SP3, however, it went back up again as soon as the graphic drivers were reinstalled along with SP3.

It's done this with both the ATI drivers (latest edition), and the previous drivers, which were nVidia when the previous card was in.

So rather than it being a specific driver conflict, it seems likely that there is something in SP3 that draws power through the video card, but it doesn't show as a process in TM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #18
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So you haven't checked the Flash settings?
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:55 AM   #19
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I did check for Flash as advised - the only reference I could find to Flash in Firefox was under: Plugins > Shockwave Flash ... and it says "enabled". I couldn't find any other settings.

I checked Flash in the Control Panel and tried to update, but it wouldn't have it, so can only assume it's as updated as is possible with XP. The Flash website seems geared up for newer versions of Windows, 7, etc.

Your theory that the CPU could be taking on an extra load when playing HD due to Flash not being fully operational makes sense to me, but the high reading in TM (average of 70%) is all of the time and without anything open, i.e. no browsers, etc.

However, I'm willing to try anything you suggest.

I tried updating Flash 3 times, turned off AV, Firewall, etc, and tried with IE, but it wouldn't have it. Because I didn't get a clear message saying: "Flash player is fully updated" I feel uneasy about it, but don't know what else to try?
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:02 AM   #20
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Test your Flash Player Version Flash player version
And if need be, try updating Flash Adobe - Install Adobe Flash Player
If this fails, clear the browsers cache and try again.

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