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CPU usage is showing 100% even when no program is running

Posted on 2009-12-22
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I caught up in situation where my laptop using WinXP sp3, is showing cpu usage 100% even when no application program is running. I restarted and uninstalled several software but doesnt make any difference.  In the task manager - Processes,   mostly seems like explorer.exe taking cup upto 40-50%, taskmgr is also 30-40%.  There are 9 instances of svchost.exe are running. I tried to close some, but then one of instance close caused the computer shutdown. I dont know how many svchost.exe supposed to be there?  Although svchost.exe doesnt show much CPU cycles.  There were 2 instances of CLI.exe, I closed both as those were also taking quite some cpu 20-40%.

Any help what can I do?  My laptop is crawling. It consistently showing cpu is 100% used.  My computer scan is running but that is too slow. It might take all night to finish up.

How can I check what is my latest registry change was made?
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Question by:fix2009
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by:ianmair329
ianmair329 earned 112 total points
ID: 26109200
you can get software that runs through your running processes and checks online to find out what each one is - good for spotting viruses etc.
I prefer to run down and manually search for any that seem unusual. just google CLI.exe for example and you'll soon find out if something is running that shouldn't be.

there's no limit to how many svchosts that can run - they're run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) so depends on how much software is running.

assume you have AV installed?
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by:tljones00
tljones00 earned 112 total points
ID: 26109264
Sounds like you have some sort of malware or virus hitting you. On a machine that isn't screwed up download Malwarebytes from www.malwarebytes.org and put the installer on a flash drive. Boot the laptop in SAFE MODE WITH NETWORKING (keeps all those pesky svchosts from running if it is actually malware doing it) and install and get the latest updates for malwarebytes then run a complete scan. It will take awhile. Then delete all the stuff it finds.
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by:Klaatu01
Klaatu01 earned 112 total points
ID: 26109919
A couple of questions may help us help you further:
How long ago was Windows XP loaded onto this computer?
What sort of things are loading at startup (use "msconfig" to check)?

Also, I recommend checking the following path for "stuck" print spooling files:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS

I have seen this happen on more than a few computers.

Finally, is there anything else you feel is unique or noteworthy about this computer from a 'software it is running - that you know about standpoint?'
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LVL 32

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by:_
_ earned 108 total points
ID: 26110264
How about some system specs?
Some of the new antivirus updates/upgrades are slamming lower spec or olders systems. I dumped AVG 8, because it turned my system into molasses.
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by:optoma
optoma earned 108 total points
ID: 26110266
Run process explorer. Whichever process is running high, hover the cursor over it and it will give you a list of what services are running from that process

In process explorer ,hit options and select "verify image signatures"
Then hit view,select columns and check "verified signer"
Get a screen shot of process and attach images in a folder attachment
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
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by:APag96
APag96 earned 108 total points
ID: 26110315
Check to see that the svchost.exe process is running from System32. Some viruses have the same name and run in a different directory.

See start-up programs, running processes (and location) and services: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/starter.html
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by:koreansuper
koreansuper earned 216 total points
ID: 26110465
Look likes your laptop has been infected with the virus. have your laptop used any protection? if not, try to do free scanner through online. use this kaspersky website to do free scanner. it will detect and delete the virus on your computer.

another way, is to use the rescue disk that running on the bios. i recommend you to use kaspersky internet security to solve your issue on your laptop
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by:koreansuper
koreansuper earned 216 total points
ID: 26110467
after that, tried to use windows optimizer that help your computer to stabilize the performance on your computer as well
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by:Jonvee
Jonvee earned 216 total points
ID: 26110643
Much has been written about svchost.exe, & these links will help>
"How many svchost.exe should i have":
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_23078311.html

"A description of svchost.exe in XP Pro":
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314056

If your cli.exe file is located in the folder C:\Windows\System32 then high CPU usage is likely due to Malware, as already suggested.
"cli.exe file information":
http://www.file.net/process/cli.exe.html

To reduce your Startup entries(can help reduce CPU usage), you can use this method by running the command "services.msc"   (no quotes)>
http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/service411.htm
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by:MikeRigsby
MikeRigsby earned 108 total points
ID: 26116677
Svchost just stands for Services Host. It's a core file that runs and allows different Services to interface with the OS and hardware. You can run a program called ProcExplorer, by Sysinternals and it will show you what services are responsible for each svchost instance.

Also, go into your Control Panel and Power aplet to make sure your laptop is set to Maximum Performance. Laptops, especially Intel based ones, have a power mode where it uses the cpu to run a lot of the background programs while the system is idle. That is why it is common to see the System Idle Process using a lot of cpu when the laptops are not actively being used.

On the malware front, I second the opinion on Malwarebytes. It works very well. You can also try SuperAntiSpyware. It also works really well.
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by:Jonvee
Jonvee earned 216 total points
ID: 26118464
@ fix2009 .... you'll probably find this tutorial useful>
"How to determine what services are running under a SVCHOST.EXE process":
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial129.html


@ coral47     Ref:  >turned my system into molasses<        lol, brilliant!  :))
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Accepted Solution

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fix2009 earned 0 total points
ID: 26319333
Thank you all. The solution of the problem was very strange. Although I scanned the computer with FProt and StopZilla spyware, something got quarantined but that didnt solve the issue. Turns out that I had bad AC Adaptor which was causing this. Because I reformatted the hard disk when nothing was working. But by using the same adaptor it again shows me CPU usage 100%.  The hard disk was clean as it could be and still CPU 100%. Unbelievable but when I noticed it only happens when I use that adaptor.  But all good info. thanks.
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by:_
ID: 26320455
Nice catch.   : )
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by:Jonvee
ID: 26321024
A good report.   Thanks.
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by:_
ID: 26355663
Thanks.    : )
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