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Spiking CPU usage - System Idle Process

Posted on 2009-02-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
My friends,

Peculiar issue... not even sure where to begin on this one. Hardware? Potential Virus? Erratic Software?

Here are the 2 screen captures I have of the issue:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35388318@N08/

Any Ideas based off this, how should I battle this fight?
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Question by:tamaneri
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JustWorking earned 300 total points
ID: 23618801
The system idle process is just that idle meaning your are 95% idle and only using 5% in other processes. That is a good thing.
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by:giltjr
giltjr earned 300 total points
ID: 23618804
Not sure what you mean.  "System idle" means exactly what it says, your system is idle, as in doing nothing.

With "system idle" at 95% that means that 95% of the time your system is doing nothing and 5% of the time it is doing something.
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by:tamaneri
ID: 23618810
So then why the spike in the CPU ? And why the drop in performance on the server (noticeable drop in performance) :(
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by:Mal Osborne
Mal Osborne earned 300 total points
ID: 23618814
The CPU useage is probably a service, not shown on performance monitor. Google, download, install & run process explorer, it may give you some more info.  It may also be anb errant driver for soem psice of hardware, possibly video.


Alternativly, shut down services one by one to see if you can find it that way.
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by:Rob Hutchinson
Rob Hutchinson earned 300 total points
ID: 23618906
From the TaskManager, click "View" then choose "Update Speed" then choose "High"

This might let you catch the task that chewing up your processor.
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by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 23618916
Opps, forgot this too:
Click "View" then "Select Columns". Select everything here, and then sort it by column for whatever you want to look at...you should find the offending program.
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by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 23618925
Don't forget to grab the edge of the taskmanager to the left or right to see all the columns.
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by:giltjr
ID: 23618961
A spike?  I would not really call getting 1 CPU out of 4 up to 32% busy a spike.  If you look at the over all system utilization it is only 8%.

What you would need to do is see what task is using the CPU when it goes that high.

You also need to know what all the sever is doing.  Is it a file server only, or is it running a web server and a database?

What are the users doing when they notice the drop in system performance?

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by:tamaneri
ID: 23621256
I'm checking out all of the info posted above...

giltjr,

This is a client's server, he actually uses it as his DESKTOP computer too (trust me I told him it's highly recommended he get his own machine). It runs files, print, exchange, DNS, DHCP, SQL, backup, every FSMO role? lol

It stays spiked (i've only seen it once or twice) for a couple of minutes. I'll need to find out if there is something specific he is doing when it spikes. Otherwise I'll just have to try to catch it somehow!
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by:tamaneri
ID: 23621258
oh, it's the DC/GC too.
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by:giltjr
ID: 23623888
Is there only 1 CPU that is spiking?  Based on the "spike" screen I don't see an issue from a CPU point of view.  One CPU going to 32% busy while the others are sitting idle.

If one CPU spiking to 32% busy is affecting him, I would assume it is only affecting him and it is something he is doing.

Except, there is more than CPU busy that affects the performance of a computer.  In fact for most servers that are doing the functions you have described, it is I/O to the disks.  

If something is driving the disk subsystem, or even the network, to its capacity, then that user and everybody else using that server, could be affected.

What kind of disk subsystem does it have?
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 300 total points
ID: 23624326
It seems that you have four processors (or a quad core cpu) and one of them is being fully utilized.  Was your system idle process snapshot taken at the same time?  It should have been 75% or less, if they are both from the same time.

What I also see is that all your physical memory is being used up, so you may be swapping to disk, which would slow down your system dramatically.  Try removing some of the background processes or startup programs, and yes, a server should not be used as a desktop.
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by:tamaneri
ID: 23724279
Physical memory is probably all the way up because the client is using the server as his desktop.

I am unsure as to whether or not these shots were taken at the same time, i'm going to say i DOUBT it.

I can't see why 1 CPU spiking like that would possibly cause the system to hang (for everyone, but i should get clarification on that).
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by:giltjr
ID: 23724590
I doubt they were at the same time also, since the total CPU utilization is different on both shots.  They were at least a few seconds apart.

Are you running this as a terminal server?  I noticed processes running under at least 3 different userid's.   If so that could explain a lot, high memory utilization, CPU spikes, and hangs for users.

If this is an ongoing issue I would suggest that you just sit and watch the processes tab for a while.  

The system cpu utilization does not always match the processes cpu utilization.  Typically there is a lag (at least 1 or 2 refreshes) in the system cpu utilizataion vs. task cpu utilization totals.
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