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CPU Usage doesn't add up

By richardscarfe ·
A client brought me their Compaq Presario W2000 laptop complaining that it was running very slow.

On checking Task Manager, it showed System Idle at 99% but CPU activity was at 44%. None of the processes shown in Task Manager were doing anything other than intermittently using the CPU for short periods of time at low percentage values which were reflected by a reduction in the System Idle Process. This 'invisible' process activity is almost constant and varies from around 20% CPU up 70+% CPU and is never accomapnied by a reduction in the System Idle process value. It is also accompanied by almost constant read write activity on the hard drive.

I ran Process Monitor and Process Master, neither of which showed anything hidden. I ran Disk Monitor which confirmaed the Hard Drive activity (mainly writes, but also some reads). I also ran Spybot, AVG Anti-Virus, AVG Anti-RootKit, Sophos Anti-RootKit and RootKit Revealer. Nothing showed up apart from some standard Spyware stuff in Spybot.

I've just about run out of ideas short of a complete system rebuild. Any help would be very much appreciated.

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You might be able to find the process

by NickNielsen In reply to CPU Usage doesn't add up

Sort the processes by "CPU" and you should see the process jump to the top whenever it starts working.

If this doesn't help, try using Process Explorer (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/ProcessExplorer.mspx). I've found that it does a better job than the others you mention.

FWIW, the last time I saw this happening, RealPlayer was the cause. Uninstalling cleared it up.

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Found The Problem

by richardscarfe In reply to You might be able to find ...

I've finally tracked down the problem. It was terminal services. I have disabled it and the CPU usage is back to normal.

Thanks to everyone who replied with their suggestions.

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