High System Process Utilization on Windows 2000 Server

I have a Windows 2000 Server with all Service Packs and critical updates installed. My System (NOT System Idle Process) is consistently around 90-99% CPU utilization. I have done the following, unsuccessfuly, to resolve the issue

1. I have Symantec Anti-Virus Server. I have verified virus definitions, done a full system scan. No virus on the system. I have also disabled real-time scan for troubleshooting purposes

2. I have disconnected the server from the network.

3. Restarted server in safe mode

4. Run Ad-Aware and Spybot. Removed all detected spywares

5. Stopped all services that are not a part of the default windows services

No matter what I try to do, the System process is always consistently high. This causes me to restart the server every couple of days. HELP!
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

run process explorer from sysinternals.com and see if you can see where the handles for this process are going, or what other threads may be running under it

have you tried safe mode to see if the utilization goes down?
manivivekAuthor Commented:
I did start the server in safe mode. The system process remains at high CPU utilization.
manivivekAuthor Commented:
Process explorer from sysinternals shows

1. Interrupts CPU (approx) 17
2. DPC CPU (approx) 42
3. System CPU (approx) 38

The 7 Worst Nightmares of a Sysadmin

Fear not! To defend your business’ IT systems we’re going to shine a light on the seven most sinister terrors that haunt sysadmins. That way you can be sure there’s nothing in your stack waiting to go bump in the night.

have you updated any drivers lately?
this could very well be a driver problem
is this a new build, or an existing server that recently started acting this way?
manivivekAuthor Commented:
Spareticus, This is an existing server that has started acting up. I thought starting the server in safe mode would isolate a driver issue?
What hardware is this server?

Have you recently added the latest MS04-011 Patch to this system?
"all Service Packs and critical updates installed" is probably be the cause. There seem to be some issues concerning the KB 835732 Hotfix.
On W2k in certain configurations, it's high CPU usage of the system process, on Server 2k3, it disables IE's encryption, and it seems to mess up some NT4 installations as well.
Here's a description about how to best remove it:
or another possibility:

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
(4) Run ADD/REMOVE PROGRAM from control panel.
(5) Go back to TaskManager and set the Priority of
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
(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

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

1) Instead of using add\remove programs,  run CMD and type

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...]----
While I believe SpyBot is a great product, if you come to the point where your running it on a DC, it is time for a rebuild.  I avoid surfing the web at all costs on servers with the exception of neccessary visits to vendor sites.  I just love it when I launch IE on a server to find one of my fellow engineers has been checking their Yahoo mail on the server.. MSGeek
manivivekAuthor Commented:
Uninstalling KB 835732 did not resolve the issue.
what service components are running and not running?
manivivekAuthor Commented:
Problem turned out to be hardware related. Specifically, the serial cable from the UPS to the server.

Thanks for all your time and input
PAQed, with points refunded (500)

E-E Admin

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 2000

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.