How to fix "SYSTEM" using 99% CPU usage in Task Manager?

Hi Experts,

i have an emergency.  Yesterday I used a utilty called Advanced System Care.  I use it very often.  I did this while visting my very nasty tempered brother without him asking me to.  the reason I ran it was because the scan revealed IGB of junk files, 3500 registry errors, 7000 privacy issues, etc.  

Bottom line is he called me screaming about an issue.  i went over to check it out and found The item called "System", just above "System idle Process" in Task Mngr is frozen at 99%.  The PC responds and i can even run scans, but VERY, VERY slowly.  Usually as you know, the 99% refers to system idle.  Not "System"

I removed some start up items because he had more of them then I have ever seen on any PC ever.

Anyways, The QUESTION Is: What is the System---- why is it @ 99%---- and how do I fix it??

The PC I am using now, system is at 0 Mem usage is only 40k.  Sorry I was so upset that I forgot to look at the mem usage on the broken PC.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Donnie616Author Commented:
>>Bottom line is he called me screaming about an issue.<<  Oh Oh he called me screaming today AFTER I ran ASC Scan and repair yesterday.. Did not know if that was clear. Also OS is WIN XP SP3.  The "system" issue is going on NOW and I do not know if I did it or if it was there before i ran the cleaning utility.

Sorry about theb double post.
jandelbasanalSystem AdministratorCommented:
you mean "system idle process" is 99% ? if thats the case your system has a lot room for new processess, else 0% for sure your cpu is busy...if you mean "system" is the user name, then check what is the image name or the file running which the user 'system" being used.

Try to use process explorer ( you check what are those processess bothering your system.

Check with your anti-virus,anti spyware, scan if there are hidden processes that the virus manipulates something in your system.

Also check your page file if you stil got enough space.Usually page file located on drive C.You should have more space in it.

Try running safe mode, running the command, ms config,disable some startup programs and services.then restart your OS,then observed if it is still the same problem.If not, then some startup programs or services is culprit then removed it.
Donnie616Author Commented:
Ok sorry--Under Processes>image name>user name.  
1-- Image name is system     (it is NOT Sys idle Process).  
2---User name is  "SYSTEM"  

If 99% of the CPU is being used, I doubt if i can dowload it, but I can put it on a USB stick and inatall it on the bad PC. It should take about 20 minutes, no joke.

Ok thanks for all that.  It will have to wait til tommorrow.  PC is not here.  I already disabled start ups and no more than 3 services.  Not too sure about right or wrong services yet.  So I still have same problem after MSCONFIG.  What does that leave?

Will check on all things you said that I have not done in the AM.   Any more  hints.  What Is this?
Cloud Class® Course: Ruby Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to Ruby, as well as teach you about classes, methods, variables, data structures, loops, enumerable methods, and finishing touches.

B HCommented:
ok here's what you do...

1. get a case of his favorite beer on the way back over his house
2. uninstall ASC, reboot
3. run combofix (
4. by time it's done he'll be 3 beers ahead of you so grab one while it's running
5. when it's done, your system will be clean and fine
6. make sure he has some antivirus ( is great)
  a.  make sure he does NOT have two antiviruses

alternatively, have him hit and click 'join session'... while you run the full teamviewer installer.  he'll give you some numbers to connect to him but it'll be real slow until you get ASC gone - at least you wont have to look at him though.

alternatively, pick your favorite leet offensive acronym and issue it to him.
B HCommented:
by the way:
"the scan revealed 1GB of junk files, 3500 registry errors, 7000 privacy issues, etc. "
...sounds like a scam... one of those "fake" security packages designed to trick you into buying it and funding a russian shopping spree.

what program told you that info?
Donnie616Author Commented:
In my question above>> I used a utilty called Advanced System Care.<<   I promise you, NOT a scam.  That WAS my brothers clogged up PC.  The program is reliable and I use it all the time.  ALK the time.  NEVER a problem before now and that is why I am here because i thought someone may havbe had experience with it.  The JUnk files you were concerned about were REALLY mostly Temp Internet files.  Some idiots really do not do a maintenence on the PCs they bought in 202 and wonder why it is slow.  I repair them every day.

However i am not an expert like you all so I never saw system>SYSTEM in in task manager @99%.  That is my question, Not to find out if my prioogram is unreliable

Sorry for the rudeness, but my younger brother just threatened my  life and he means it.  He is not all there.

So I need to find out what to do (about image name=system) and (user name=SYSTEM) being @ 99% That is all I need for now.
Donnie616Author Commented:
As you tell me to try combofix  I tell you, just so you know, ASC by IOBIT is one of the highest rated free maintenance+ optimization utilities in the world. You should try it. BTW, i love combofix. I will try combo fix and check for 2 AVs.  that is very likely with him.  Btw he has worked with computers for 20 years.  ME; % years.  He is an idiot, but he has me afraid now.

His issue is that it wasn't broken before I ran ASC.  JUST SLOW.  And I think he is right, becaus ASC is very powerful, not for real beginners.
jandelbasanalSystem AdministratorCommented:
MSCONFIG, command to see system configuration utility wherein you can disable/enable startups and other settings...try running it at RUN command.goodluck
B HCommented:
"system" is used when your OS needs to interact with other processes... so it's really hard to debug that...

with sysinternals process explorer, properties on 'system' and look at the stack trace for which DLL is using all the cpu... find the owner of that dll and hopefully uninstall the related program.

i've also seen 'system' run up like this trying to deal with windows updates - if you stop the windows update service, does it go back to normal?  if so, either disable windows updates (he's an idiot anyway right) or run out ALL of the windows updates even the optional ones

from google, people have had this with a corrupted usb driver - a reinstall of the chipset driver will fix that if it's the case

others have reported it when the CPU temp gets way too hot - a can of compressed air would do well, expecially an 8 year old machine


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
B HCommented:
if he's open for logical discussion, point out that an 8 year old machine is nothing to get upset over, and he can get a 2 year old refurb for like $80
Donnie616Author Commented:
Ok guys thanks.  If and when he calms down and/or lets me near his PC again.  I will do as suggested.  I concur with all that you thought might be wrong because I saw signs of all that you mentioned. There were 2 or  3  programs automatically updating at Startup together.  Also his USB printer is not printing now, so I will check things(drivers) out.  I just do not know when.  

I am sure you are correct  because the fixes you have suggested have worked for me for me many times in the past, but for not quite the same reasons.  It is strange how the mouse and keyboard are not frozen and functional.  In my meager experience, I usually see everything frozen. Before I ran my cleanup yesterday, it was deadly slow anyway, very much like a moderately infected PC.  i do not get iwhat is going on.

For all I know what ever was going under  image name>System may be down to 0% CPU usage by now, after it got finished doing what it was doing.  All I know is I cannot repair it under these conditions.  

Footnote:  I am a severely unhealthy 67 YO.  He threatened to end all of my health problems.  Unbelievable.  We were really close at one time.

Good nite guys.

I will check in the AM.
Donnie616Author Commented:
Team Viewer is fantastically easy for me. I will use it often.  I work with absolute Beginning beginners most of the time.  They usually need help after 2-3 days.  If you want,  read my profile to see what I do.  Thanks for continuing to help me even after  I became rude. I am sorry.
Donnie616Author Commented:
My original question was answered, and then some, even tough I didn't use it.  I left a message with his wife for him to do a system restore.  It seems to have worked for him.  He left a message that he did that and things were ok.  i got lucky, but my question was answered regardless.

Thanks for putting up with my personal problems. I truly am sorry for that.
jandelbasanalSystem AdministratorCommented:
Thanks for the points i will look into it,its good to know yout got excellent tool found.Thanks
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
System Utilities

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.