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Near 100% downtime: System process grabbing 98% of CPU

Posted on 2004-04-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Well, this looks like a virus....
Rebooted the laptop after a windows update patch (other workstations got the same patch - no problem) and I'm getting 98% CPU time allocated to the System process.

Which means that any keystroke has a response time like molasses.
os: win2K
All security updates are (I think) up to date.
Norton Anti-virus is installed.

So I thought I was good.........

An Attempt to run the full system scan was aborted after 24 hours (3,000 files of many many thousand files scanned).

I can access the laptop via my local network.

I am getting lots of Netsky.P type email viruses - all caught by the Anti-virus, but all spoofing my email address. The laptop was, (Until went dead in the water), my email workstation. (Is this related?).

The laptop Task Manager shows System grabbing thr processor time but I wondered if one of the other processes was in fact the culprit (Process tree issue?).

Any help appreciated before I trash the laptop (Real pain given that lots of licences are registered on it....).

regards,
CTOSian

[In case you're wondering.. CTOS was a great operating system I used in the '80s]
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Question by:CTOSian
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Accepted Solution

by:
oBdA earned 500 total points
ID: 10846816
There seem to be some issues concerning  KB 835732 (MS04-011) and Windows 2000 in certain configurations; try to remove the hotfix(es).
Here's a description about how to best remove it:
http://groups.google.de/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=%23IOM%23EzIEHA.3476%40TK2MSFTNGP11.phx.gbl
or another possibility:
http://groups.google.de/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=1d1d201c42315%2448f9c3b0%24a501280a%40phx.gbl&rnum=2

If it doesn't work, google groups for "835732" and "CPU usage" or "835732" and "realtime".
Here are the important parts of the articles above, just in case:

====8<----[MICROSOFT IS LOOKING at the KB 835732 issue now]----
To unistall it, I did the following
(1) Boot into Safe mode.
(2) Run TaskManager - and noticed that the SYSTEM process
was using 99% of the CPU time.
(3) From TaskManager set the Priority of the EXPLORER
process to REALTIME, so that I can get to the control
panel.
(4) Run ADD/REMOVE PROGRAM from control panel.
(5) Go back to TaskManager and set the Priority of
MSHTA.exe to REALTIME, so that the ADD/REMOVE PROGRAM can
get some CPU time.
(6) Select and Remove "Windows 2000 Hotfix  - KB835732".
(7) Go back to TaskManager and set the Priority
of "SPUNIST.exe" to REALTIME, for the uninstall program to
run.
(8) Wait a few minutes, and the uninstall program will
eventually ask you to click FINISH to reboot the machine.
It took a long time for the system to shutdown and I just
unplugged the power.
(9) The machine should become normal after reboot.
====8<----[MICROSOFT IS LOOKING at the KB 835732 issue now]----

====8<----[HELP...ME TOO! my machine is doing the exact same thing...]----
I found this solution below,  and it worked great.
Boot into SAFE MODE (no networking or no command prompt).
Go to: Control Panel --> Add / Remove Programs
UNINSTALL Windows Hotfix KB 835732
Reboot...

There's some additional tricks to this that you can use:

1) Instead of using add\remove programs,  run CMD and type
in:
%systemroot%\$Ntuninstallkb835732$\spuninst\spuninst.exe

or
2) if you can get to the desktop,  go to task manager.  
Give the explorer process Realtime priority.  Then go to
the command prompt and follow step #1.  Once you start up
the spuninst.exe program,  go into task manager and give
it Realtime priority as well.
====8<----[HELP...ME TOO! my machine is doing the exact same thing...]----
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Author Comment

by:CTOSian
ID: 10848568
oBDa,
Excellent response!
I followed these instructions and it all worked fine... (Though I didn't need to power off).
The machine is now working fine.
Thanks very much for the help - well worth the 500 points.

regards,
CTOSian

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Expert Comment

by:vanwertj
ID: 10988611
While the answer of removing the 835732 hotfix will get your computer up and running again, it doesn't address the fact that now these system are vulnerable to known exploits. I will be interested to find out how many of the people that have removed the hotfix are now having problems with the sasser.worm
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Author Comment

by:CTOSian
ID: 10989778
I have to assume that Microsoft are aware of this problem and are addressing it. Haven't had the time to research this though....

CTOSian
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LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:oBdA
ID: 10990624
In the meantime, there's an official release describing the problems:
MS04-011: Security Update for Microsoft Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=835732

And here's the (hopefully) fixed version of the fix:
Security Update for Microsoft Windows (835732)
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms04-011.mspx
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LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:oBdA
ID: 10990733
Was posting a bit too fast, sorry. The fix for the fix is here (the link is in the first article); if you need the hotfix described in the article, don't be afraid to call Microsoft. Simply call them and tell them you need it, and they'll send you a download link and a password a few hours later.

Your Windows 2000-based computer stops responding, you cannot log on to Windows, or your CPU usage for the System process approaches 100 percent
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=841382
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