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CPU usage very high

When I start up the system runs at about 4% cpu usage (there's a little tool on the desktop). If I switch the wifi on it jumps to 100% usage then drops back to 60% or 50%. This doesn't seem right. No malware/viruses detected. Is this a problem or not?
4 Solutions
Sajen JoseCommented:
I dont think it is a problem as your system might be trying to search for available wireless networks etc.

Also Wireless Card is one of the main power drainers when you run a laptop on battery power ,

Neverthless I would recommend you to listen to one of the talks by Mark Russinovich - The Case of the Unexplained, 2010: Troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich

JillCAuthor Commented:
ok, not running on battery. I had an error message on startup saying the Windows Script Host couldn't find a file. I removed that line from the registry and that seems to have improved the cpu usage a bit. So maybe that was it?
what's your disk activity like during that period?
if it's really searching for the file on the entire disk, then you should see a decent amount of I/O.
use your task-manager screens to see what processes are running and using the cpu.
are they also doing i/o?

if the problem is gone... and that's the only change you made? then I'd say yeah, looks like it.
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JillCAuthor Commented:
i/o is very low. Jus the cpu usage at about 50% even though nothing is running. Seems a bit high.
Start task manager, go to the processes tab and sort by CPU.  Something as got to be using the CPU.
one of the cpu hog is index services such as window seach index. you can try killing it and see if it helps.

JillCAuthor Commented:
Having been told to watch a video by Sajen Jose, I downloaded/ran the process explorer and the following seems to be the culprit:
 services.exe      776            2,632 K      5,776 K            
  svchost.exe      1000      40.77      2,576 K      5,260 K      Host Process for Windows Services      Microsoft Corporation
   igfxsrvc.exe      3644            1,588 K      4,764 K      igfxsrvc Module      Intel Corporation
   unsecapp.exe      3280            2,188 K      4,320 K      Sink to receive asynchronous callbacks for WMI client application      Microsoft Corporation
   WmiPrvSE.exe      3460            3,348 K      6,136 K            
   mobsync.exe      928            3,532 K      7,760 K      Microsoft Sync Center      Microsoft Corporation
   wfcrun32.exe      3752            2,160 K      7,688 K      Citrix      Citrix Systems, Inc.

I am just as confused as ever. All those processes look to be needed.
Not sure what that output is from, making a big assumption it seems that svchost is using 40.77% of your CPU.

svchost is a generic task/program name that MS uses for a bunch of stuff.  You can issue the command:

     tasklist /svc > tasks.txt

and look at the file tasks.txt to see which exact services are running under the svchost pid 1000.  There will be more than one svchost process running, so make sure which PID is using the CPU when you run the command.
JillCAuthor Commented:
The output is from process explorer. Isn't that what I said?
I think I will just close this question. It is far too frustrating.
JillCAuthor Commented:
Am splitting the points among all those who answered. I don't think it's worth persuing any further - I'll just have to live with an unsolved problem.
Ops my fault, I was focusing on the list of tasks.  Using process explorer you can double click on the specific svchost entry that is using the CPU and it will show you what exact services that entry is using.

Once you know what service(s), a single svchost task can control more than one service, you can then do further investigation.
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