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Ok, I do a bit of tech support for the staff and students at my school, and a few of them have come to me complaining of a very odd problem.

The first time I encountered it, it was on the computer of my dorm's supervisor.
He was running windows XP essential (a bootleg) on some older HP laptop.
I can't remember the exact model, but it runs an intel centrino mobile at around 1.8mhz with a Gb of DDR SO-DIMM.
Anyway, he comes to me asking if I could look into safe operating temps for his processor, because his fans were running rather hard and constantly.
I found that his processor was 10c over his max safe temp.
So, the first thing I do is look at what his CPU and RAM usage are. Task manager reported that his CPU was at 100%, but his RAM was being reported empty. So, I figured that this guy's got some process that's hoggin' all his resources or he's runnin' too many apps at once. So I go into his taskmanager, and kill every process not required to run windows (svchost.exe, explorer.exe, csrss.exe, etc...). Still, his processor sits at 100%.
So now I'm thinkin' that this is either a virus or a startup app that I may have missed. I used MSCONFIG to disable any and all startup apps and then I reboot. After rebooting, I again killed all unnessisary processes, and again the processor sat at 100%.
So at this point, I'm fairly sure this guy's got a virus.
I ran combofix first, and then scanned his system with pc tools AV and malewarebytes, then norton. None of them found anything.

His processor still remained at 100%, and we had to reload the OS to solve the problem.

The problem has shown up on several other laptops in my dorm (mainly among those who share software with the supervisor who had this first).
I'm yet to see it on any vista systems, but 90% of the computers in my dorm are XP systems.

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this problem?
 
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