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Avatar of errodark

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Excessively Slow Boot and Over-Use of CPU

Okay, here's a recap on the specifics of this particular system to start off:

HP Pavilion dv8315nr
Windows XP Pro SP2
AMD Turion 64 processor, ML-34, 1.79 GHz.
100 GB HD, 54GB Free
Extremely slow start up and excessive processor use

User formatted his hard drive roughly 4 months ago.  Apparently, in the last month, it had slowed excessively.  When I worked with it a bit today, the boot time from power off to login screen was roughly 15 minutes.  All of the start up programs after logging in took another 15 minutes.

Once the system IS finally loaded, things work a bit quicker, but if someone runs a program, the CPU usage maxes out.  For example, using Windows Media Player to play music is out of the question, because the music breaks and skips.  Task Manager doesn't show anything unusually except programs will randomly just take almost all of the CPU usage for brief moments at a time.

System has very little on it, other that some videos and pictures that take up most of the used space.  Task manager and msconfig do not show any unusual programs that would be eating up processor and I ran a boot-time scan, found nothing for viruses.

Is it possible his hard drive is going out...or are their other reasons this could be happening?
Avatar of jasonmallison

There is a problem on some Windows XP machines involving Microsoft Update, that cause the cpu to peg at 100% utilization consitently. I have personally seen this on well over 100 Dell workstations as well.

Try this fix:

This may fix your issues, it did mine.
Use Process Explorer from SysInternals (Microsoft) to troubleshoot this.  Unlike Task Manager, it allows you to pause processes, in addition to just killing them.

What's the benefit?  Some runaway processes (such as svchost) will respawn automatically, thus eluding any real troubleshooting you can perform via Task Manager.  By pausing the process, you will circumvent this automated process restart, thus allowing you to determine whether or not a process is truly to blame.  

Process Explorer also give you detailed information on what child processes, .dll files, and handles that are in use by a particular process; this can help to determine where the real culprit is, rather than simply pointing to a generic Windows process, which does you absolutely no good.

That said, the majority of these type of issues seem (to me) to be related to Windows Update, whether or not the above fix has been applied.
Avatar of AdamJur
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yea check what jasonmallison has shown...
maybe if you think its the hard drive a defrag or a chkdsk to fix bad sectors

Avatar of errodark


I tried the didn't help.  Ran a check disk and it has confirmed that the hard drive is seriously messed up.  In fact, it couldn't finish...a message kept coming was repeating constantly and at a fast rate...something to the extent of "The hard drive does not have enough space to fix the damaged sectors".

An analysis of the hard drive with defrag showed something very strange.  roughly half was almost solid blue with contiguous files, the other half was almost completely red with fragmented files.  There was little to no mingling, like one would normally see with a hard drive.

I've recommended that he backup his personal files onto an external and I'm looking for a replacement hard drive.  The one he has is definitely NOT okay.  AdamJur, you put me on the right path for realizing just how bad the HDD is.  I don't know why I didn't try a check disk before.