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System Process taking up 100% cpu

Posted on 2009-02-17
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I have a Windows SBS 2003 server that is constantly at maximum cpu usage.  The System process is almost always pinging from 30% to 50%.  It has all of its Windows Updates and has been restarted.

The server is actively using Exchange 2003, Blackberry enterprise, and WSUS.  This coincidentally became a problem (or I noticed it) after one of our hard drives went bad.  The problem is that it has continued even after replacing the hard drive and rebuilding the array.

What could be causing the System process to go this crazy?  I have tried looking through Process Explorer for a pattern, but it does not appear to be a specific sub-process.

We have also run multiple anti-spyware/anti-malware scans and the Microsoft rootkit revealer and found nothing.
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Question by:accellis
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by:accellis
ID: 23661894
bump
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Author Comment

by:accellis
ID: 23663303
bump
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LVL 65

Expert Comment

by:Mestha
ID: 23665694
Bump?
This isn't a forum. You cannot get your question to appear at the top of the question list again. Once it has been posted that is it. All you have done is make your question look like it has had three responses.

Start shutting things down until the server behaves. I would start with all of the Blackberry processes to begin with.

-M
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Author Comment

by:accellis
ID: 23674212
It was worth a try.

This server is an active server performing necessary duties for my business.  I don't think the users would take kindly to me taking down their ability to work in different applications or get emails on their Blackberry phones all day.
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Expert Comment

by:Mestha
ID: 23675748
Unfortunately that is what has to be done.
Until you know what process is using the processor you cannot look at resolving the issues. Otherwise you will have to live with it. "System" is a generic process which can host many different processes.

-M
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Author Comment

by:accellis
ID: 23705276
I've just found something interesting. cmd.exe is running all of the time. If I end it, the System process virtually stops using the CPU altogether. If I open a cmd window, the cmd.exe process takes up no CPU while sitting there idle. It's very strange. If I log out, the CPU goes crazy again. (We have a monitoring utility that monitors CPU usage through WMI when not logged in. Just in case you were wondering how we would know that if we weren't logged in). If I just leave the console logged in after ending it, it's fine.
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Accepted Solution

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Mestha earned 1500 total points
ID: 23705586
That sounds like something is running on startup. Go looking through Startup and the startup registry keys to see if something is running - a rouge script for example.

-M
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