Numerous powershell.exe instances are consuming all CPU

Posted on 2012-08-21
Last Modified: 2013-08-24
We have a physical server which is showing CPU usage constantly pegged at 100%.  Going into Windows Task manager there are between 6 and 9 instances of powershell.exe running.  Each instance is using between 5% and 12% of the CPU.  When we rebooted the server it worked fine for 5-10 minutes but then CPU utilization began to creep up.
   Is there a method to determine what program is spawning these powershell commands?  This server fills a few roles and we are stumped on what would be creating these mutiple powershells.
Question by:MorefieldIT
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Does it say what users spawned the process?  If it's "Administrator" then you can log on as  the admin and see what's going on.  If it's "Local System" then you might have to check the Event Logs for any errors/alerts from the scripts.

    Author Comment

    Yes, the user is a Active Directory account that we use for system admin work.  When I log in with that account nothing is actively running.  I suspect these are being spawned from a service or other program running in the background.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Do you have "Description" enabled in your Task Manager view?

    Open Windows Task Manager -> View -> Select Columns -> Check box beside Description

    Should tell you which application is running it.  From there, it might take some digging to find out why.  If you stay logged on as the service account, do any windows pop up?

    Accepted Solution

    Thank you for the suggestion.  We had the description column showing and it just said Windows Powershell (or something like that).  No windows popped up either.
        A few of my co-workers figured out a way to trace it back to cscript.exe and from there back to monitoringhost.exe which was Microsoft System Center.  Once we stopped the System Center services from running the CPU performance increased immediately.  I will check with my co-workers on how they figured this out and then post.

    Author Closing Comment

    Coworker suggested fix.

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