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cpu usage 30% at idle

Posted on 2008-10-19
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My Tak Manager cpu performance is at 30% when laptop is idle.  Shoudl I be concerned?  I have what I consider to be a fairly normal set-up.  Pretty new Dell Precision M6300 (17" widescreen). 2GB of RAM installed.  Installed: Norton Antivirus, Microsoft Ooutlook 2007, all updates performed, Hp Office Jet All-in-one network printer software.  Once I log in, I leave the machine alone...no commands, and the cpu usage never drops down to the 5-15% level I would expect.  Most machines I work on, even older slower ones will drop down to very very low usage levels when left alone.  I don't have any viruses according to the Symantec scan.  The computer seems very responsive and not slow, BUT...  Is there a way to tell if there is one or 2 processes conflicting or taking up too many resources?  Is this even a problem?  
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Question by:Jarrod731
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8 Comments
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:hewittg
ID: 22754278
Go to ctrl>alt>delete

view task manager

hit process tab

hit the cpu tab at the top

it will sort the process and you can see what is running.

Post here what you see and we will help.

Glenn
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pr0t0c0l12 earned 800 total points
ID: 22754288
Run msconfig.  Under startup programs make sure that you don't have any more than you need.  To troubleshoot all of them,  you disable them all and start adding one by one.  Allow up to 5 minutes for all processes to run after reboot.  Then check your CPU usage.  When it starts acting again, you have found it.  

This process might be time consuming but if you have some time and don't want to spend money on software you might want to do that.  

Second option you might want to do a system restore to the time that you had <30% as you stated.  

Hope this helps you.
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Assisted Solution

by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 200 total points
ID: 22754297
My machines (Desktop XP, Laptop XP and Laptop Vista) run at an average CPU load < 2% more than 95 percent of the time. I think 30% at idle is high.

Open Task Manager, select the Processes Tab and sort by CPU. Other than System Idle process, you should be able to see what is taking the CPU. Candidates: Auto Updaters, Viruse and Spyware. Windows Defender is now pretty good. Download it, install it and scan. Check Norton AntiVirus that is is not doing too much (it wants to run startup scans which I routinely disable). ... T
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Expert Comment

by:pmckenna541
ID: 22754369
Couple of thoughts:

1. CPU usage at idle should be in the single digits. Sustained usage above that should be investigated.

2. Excessive CPU usage can be an indication of a virus.

3. As mentioned elsewhere task manager may give you some idea what is running in the background. However task manager is a bit of a crude tool. A much better tool is Process Explorer which is offered for free by MS. It is part of the Sysinternals package of utilities (just use Google.). It will give you a much more detailed look at what is going on in the background.

4 Another useful tool from Sysinternal is "Autostarts". It allows you a much more powerful means of locating and stopping programs which may be causing problems than msconfig. It is easy to use.

5. Norton sucks! There is probably about a 50% chance that the excessive CPU cycles you are seeing are from Norton. Uninstall it using the Norton Removal Tool http://www.symantec.com/nrt ( I think). Remove Norton and get an alternative AV. The free version of AVG works well.

Hope this is helpful
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Author Comment

by:Jarrod731
ID: 22754370
its' possible that the process bloat occurred after installing Outlook 2007.  The bsuiness contact manager and all.  I've uninstalled the business contact manager though.  Is it possible/likely that the installation shoudl just be redone as a preliminary step?  your advice?
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by:hewittg
ID: 22754425
Did you identify the process (Percentage) that is using the memory?

Thanks

Glenn
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Expert Comment

by:Emredrum76
ID: 22755019
Installed: Norton Antivirus.
My bet will be you will find its a Norton resource hogging.  Norton was a favourite of mine until about 2004 and since then as been a thorn in the side of computing.

http://service1.symantec.com/Support/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/2005033108162039  to remove it.
Or you can Start - Run - msconfig and turn off Norton if you dont want to remove it.

But I would suggest noting down your Norton Product ID, remove it,  Turn on Windows Firewall.
See how it goes.  If the problem goes away look at http://www.download.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10320142.html?part=dl-AVGAntiVir&subj=dl&tag=button for a free AV solution. And also add Spybot  http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/ .

So in summary - If it turns out to be a NORTON service, then get rid of Norton. Try and alternative and if you want you can always reinstalll norton.
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Author Comment

by:Jarrod731
ID: 22805668
sorry for the delay folks.  I ran an online virus scan at Trend Micro and Kaspersky.  both came up clean...and as long as we don't believe it's a virus, the guy who has the machine is on a business trip and we'll attack it when he returns.  I'll post as soon as I have a resolution or a culprit.
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