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System process using 99% CPU time

We have a problem with a users PC running Win NT 4 SP6. It is running slow and the system process is staying on 99% CPU usage. Any ideas what's using this up? and what to do to get this back to normal.
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F_MERLIN
Asked:
F_MERLIN
1 Solution
 
NstyDevilCommented:
how much ram have you got, and what is your swap file size set to?
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F_MERLINAuthor Commented:
The RAM is 256 and the swap file is 181Mb (i think, it wont be any less but is on a remote site) It has a P4 1.5ghz
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NstyDevilCommented:
do  you have any anti-virus running, or any other program that might be running in the background?
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F_MERLINAuthor Commented:
We have mcafee antivirus 4.5.1 with e-policy, but we have hundreds with this. The product has been reinstalled but made no difference, and a colleague says he had the pc with no antivirus running and still had problems. A reboot clears the problem and its totally sporadic and cant seem to replicate the problem.
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NstyDevilCommented:
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ProgSysAdminCommented:
I suspect that the McAfee anti-virus is causing a memory leak.  Try and remove McAfee from the startup and see if you are still having the memory leak.  I had a similar situation with my bosses home PC.  He is using Symantec Norton Anti-virus now.
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ShadowWarrior111Commented:
I do encounter this problem before, for it is solve after I've run chkdsk.
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evcoCommented:
I've read about usb causing this sort of problem. Try disabling usb devices that is if you have any.
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iamwiz82Commented:
What process has the highest CPU utilization in the Task Manager?  Once you find it out, use the kill.exe command to kill the process.
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F_MERLINAuthor Commented:
Wooooaah loads of answers.

I havent done the stuff from nstydevil from the microsoft site but it relates to a device driver problem, and after doing some looking on the system looks as if the Intel pro 100 NIC has some sort of driver problem? Possibly give that a reinstall (which will be hard as it is about 300 miles away and we work on it remotely)

Tried with and without Antivirus but doesn't seem to make a difference, and unfortunately changing to Norton isn't an option as it is company policy (and the fact we spent too much money on Mcafee) to stay with what we have.

No usb devices being used, at all, anywhere (NT).

And the SYSTEM process is using the CPU time. It could get killed each time but at the moment I dont know what it would do and whether windows wont work without it, but also I would rather find out why it is doing it rather than sorting it out every time it does it.

Looks as if nstydevil and the device driver problem is something to look at more.
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SysExpertCommented:
Sounds good.

In addition :

1) Update ALL of your drivers.

2) REINSTALL SP6A AND ANY RELEVANT PATCHES.

3) Check for viruses, spyware etc.

4) Disable any unneeded services.

I hope this helps !

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JMansfordCommented:
System process is usually a hardware device which is utilising the CPU.

Commonly, this is USB (under Windows 2000 and above), printers and software-modems.

Does this machine have a local printer attached? If so, is it a 'cheap' one?  Try disconnecting it and see if the problem goes away.

What other hardware is in the machine?
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HegemonCommented:
Size of swap file should be at leas<Amount of Physical RAM> +12Mb.
Try to increase it to 268.
How much memory do all processes use ?
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F_MERLINAuthor Commented:
It was the NIC after all. Reinstalled and now ok (so far).
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