Server has intermittent high CPU that cripples server

Posted on 2008-10-19
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We have a Server 2003 quad core processor HP box that is running as a file server. It is not running any applications. Even the Trend Microware anti-virus is turned off on this machine.Sometimes once a day and sometimes once every few days the CPU's will go up to almost 100% usage and stay there. Users cannot access the server while this is going on. After ten to twenty minutes the CPU will come back down on its own to normal CPU levels. When this is happening Windows Task Manager shows that the SYSTEM process is using all of the CPU. I am going to put Process Explorer on this machine so that I can see more information on the SYSTEM processes. Can someone help me troubleshoot this further so that I can eventually find a solution? Is there something more that I can do to track down the problem?
Question by:HJBr
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 22754244
Sure, performance monitor (perfmon) is a good utility to see these things..
Especially when looking at disk activity and page file usage.
Also Processor interrupts and memory usage are must haves..
I'd suggest adding network connections also..
you can export the graph and go from here...
But the new process monitor is a beauty, still recommend trying that too...

Author Comment

ID: 22754320
How do you add Network Connections? Is there a setting in Process Monitor for this?
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 22754458
No, my comments are for perfmon, process monitor can show you process activity during that time though...
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 22754900
Process explorer was your best bet. That can pinpoint the problem child program to the thread it is running.

Expert Comment

ID: 22755981
Have you had a look in the event viewer to make sure this isn't a hardware issue (disk problems or similar) manifesting itself

Author Comment

ID: 22756851
Yes I have, thank you.

Author Comment

ID: 22756859
Thank you for clarifying. I will try to setuo ProfMan.
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

debuggerau earned 500 total points
ID: 22763299
you may not even need process monitor.

I use this process.

Firstly find the process in the task manager and take note of the PID column number.
Then run tasklist /SVC from a command line which will give you the services for each system process. you can then fault find that service and its particularities.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 22774258
Few system services would be scheduled like that:

Here are all I can think of:
1) Windows Updates automatic updator
2) FRS replications
4) Volume Shadow copy
5) AV software scans

When are these services configured to scan, update, replicate or copy?

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