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W2K system tray/tool bar freezes; CPU usage 100%

Quite often (at least several times an hour) my system tray/tool bar becomes inaccessible and applications freeze.  When I press CTRL-ALT-DEL and look at the processor usage, it is showing 100% and then goes to zero just as soon as I start looking at it.  It "appears" to me that something malicious is hogging the CPU but nothing shows up in the process ID listing.  It's almost as if the code is sensing that I have pressed CTRL-ALT-DEL and it immediately hides itself.  Is there any utility or any way possible for me to capture what is happening prior to and during these lockups?  I am about to reformat the entire thing and start over but for future reference, I would love to have access to a utility that would allow me to have a complete log of all events and perhaps how much of the CPU they are utilizing without having to press CTRL-ALT-DEL.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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soujrnr
Asked:
soujrnr
1 Solution
 
RevelationCSCommented:
sounds like you need more memory.... check your performance tab and see what your memory usage is at... if you are hitting above the physical amount of RAM that is located in the machine (ie paging) then you will notice symptoms such as the freezing you are describing... CPU hitting 100% could be a result of the paging also... please post what you see under the performance tab and I can let you know further...
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soujrnrAuthor Commented:
My current memory setup includes an 80 GB hard drive coupled with over 1 GB of DDR RAM.  I don't run a lot of applications in the background and sometimes I can be doing something as simple as writing a Word document and this will happen.  Nevertheless, when I get to the other computer (I'm on my laptop currently) I'll post what is happening in the performance tab.  Thanks.

Mike
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Mike R.Commented:
Even if your system is paging, it shoul not cause a "pause" or a freeze" in the system.  You would have to be paging at a very high rate to cause that.

You probably got spyware...or a a legitimate program is poorly written and causing the issue.  Did you install anything right before this started happenning?

HOWEVER, it is NORMAL for the processor to hit 100% IMMEDIATELY after starting task manager.  I don't know what about Task Manager hits the processor so hard...but I see it on every system I work with.  This is only significant if it STAYS there for more than a second or two.

Counterspy got the best ratings for an anti-spyware in the last couple of months...and is relatively cheap.  Might look into that.

Otherwise, if it is a poorly writen legitimate program...use task manager to begin killing processes one at a time and see if eliminating one of them makes the frezzing stop.

Best of Luck,
M
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soujrnrAuthor Commented:
I've tried capturing the process that is causing the lock-up and I've checked the "performance" tab after I realize it's locked up and it just immediately shoots back down to around one or two percent and everything magically "unlocks" and I can go on about my business.  My memory usage is also very low during the lock-ups.  It goes up to about 200 MB.  I think it's time to do a back-up and reformat but before that I'm going to try a few other things as well.  I'm going to keep this thread open for just a little bit longer if you don't mind and post my findings.  Thank you.

Mike
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soujrnrAuthor Commented:
Wonder of wonders....it appears that the mouse I was using was causing the problem.  I installed a new USB mouse (the other one was the mini connector version) and haven't had any problems since.  I'm not sure what that is all about but I do know that the scrolling wheel on the old mouse was broken and perhaps it was shorting out somehow inside and causing massive interrupts or something....no idea.  Nevertheless, the new mouse fixed the problem.  I haven't seen it lock up in a few days of heavy use.  Go figure.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts.  

Mike
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RevelationCSCommented:
heh... rather interesting solution there ;) glad you were able to resolve the issue... don't forget to close out the question... let us know if you have question on how to make the request to have the question deleted and the points refunded...
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Wayne BarronCommented:
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:
[PAQ - Refund]

Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.

Carrzkiss
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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RevelationCSCommented:
no objections
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Computer101Commented:
PAQed with points refunded (125)

Computer101
EE Admin
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