100% CPU problem

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    My daughter's Compaq Vista laptop has developed a bad problem. The CPU
    usage is stuck on 100%, making it very slow to use the machine. What I
    find hard to understand is that in Task Manager the only process using
    any CPU is taskmgr itself, which is using about 10%, but the total usage
    shows as 100%. Are there processes that do not show up in Task Manager?

    I have just run sfc /scannow, which looks for corrupted system files.
    On completion is said that there were errors but they could not all be
    repaired. I looked at the log file, CBS.log, which has hundreds of
    lines that don't mean much to me.

    Any suggestions?
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
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  2. Gib Bogle

    Me Guest

    It's possible that services/processes can be deliberately hidden from
    windows task manager. There is no legitimate reason to do this, so the
    symptom suggests malware or virus.
    I suggest you boot in "safe mode" and run virus/malware checks from
    there if you can.
    Me, Oct 16, 2012
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  3. Gib Bogle

    Enkidu Guest

    Run a malware checker on it. I use Malwarebytes (free but it nags you to
    buy). I assume that they have a virus checker?


    Enkidu, Oct 16, 2012
  4. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Thanks for the suggestions, Me and Cliff. This machine has AVG
    installed and up to date, and when my daughter told me it was getting
    slow I suggested that she run Spybot and Malwarebytes, which she did.
    Apparently one trojan was detected. Ironically, the super-slow
    performance (100% CPU) started after running these anti-virus programs.
    I'm sure she didn't run them in safe mode, though. That's worth a try.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
  5. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    I forgot to mention that CPU usage is normal in safe mode. I'm now
    running Spybot in safe mode, and after that I'll run Malwarebytes, and
    maybe do an AVG scan for good measure.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
  6. Gib Bogle

    Dave Doe Guest

    Forget Spybot, use SuperAntiSpyware instead - much better.

    It has some good fix options too.

    You can also get an up-to-date portable version.


    And run an additional virus checker, I find MS's portable one quite

    http:/safety.live.com - download the right version! - download on your
    PC and put on a mem stick - it will also run in Safe Mode. Preferably,
    use a mem stick that has a write protect switch, just to be on the safe
    side for yourself - or, when you get home, put it on your linux box and
    format it :)
    Dave Doe, Oct 16, 2012
  7. Gib Bogle

    Enkidu Guest

    Hmm, did she have update to date AVG virus defs and the same for Spybot
    and Malwarebytes? It's probably worth doing full scans too, (may default
    to 'quick').


    Enkidu, Oct 16, 2012
  8. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Yes! I discovered this late last night (stoopidly never noticed that
    tick box). Now I see all the processes.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
  9. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Thanks, excellent suggestions.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
  10. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    I ran Spybot and Malwarebytes in safe mode last night. Spybot found 128
    malicious objects, then Malwarebytes found nothing. I will check that
    their databases are up to date and do it again.

    When I rebooted in normal mode, and discovered the tick box that shows
    processes for all users (duh!) I saw that the CPU usage was still high,
    but the culprit was AVG (avgcsrvx.exe). After a while the usage dropped
    back to about 15%, which is understandable. I am now thinking that AVG
    was the problem, and that installing Malwarebytes created some conflict.
    When I suggested to my daughter that she do a scan with Malwarebytes I
    wasn't aware that by default she would install the program and it would
    stay there performing AV duties. Clearly it's asking for trouble to
    have two AV programs running at the same time.

    At the moment things seem to have settled down, although I do think AVG
    uses too many resources. I'm inclined to adopt a strategy of

    Thanks to all for your help
    Gib Bogle, Oct 16, 2012
  11. Gib Bogle

    Enkidu Guest

    I've removed AVG (for various reasons) and use the Microsoft Anti-virus.


    Enkidu, Oct 17, 2012
  12. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    I no longer use it on my machines either. Time to get it off my
    daughter's too, it seems.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 17, 2012

  13. No one in his right mind uses AVG, just use the Windows one and the Free
    Frank Williams, Oct 17, 2012
  14. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    And what would you know about that?
    Gib Bogle, Oct 17, 2012
  15. Gib Bogle

    JohnO Guest

    I have to say that I concur with you, Cliff and Woger all at the same time - could be a first!

    AVG used to be the best option but now the MS one is much better and lighter on the system.
    JohnO, Oct 17, 2012
  16. Gib Bogle

    Enkidu Guest

    Well, Roger put it a bit strongly, but I've removed AVG from all
    machines because of various issues (including a high CPU issue).


    Enkidu, Oct 17, 2012
  17. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Me too. My daughter has had it on her machine for years, and not
    knowing much about these things she has just put up with its poor
    performance (until recently). She may not be computer-savvy, but she is
    certainly in her right mind.
    Gib Bogle, Oct 18, 2012
  18. Gib Bogle

    ~misfit~ Guest

    I did the same - until there were issues with the MS one using 100% CPU a
    few years back! Since then I've used Avast! with no trouble at all. Small
    definitions downloads and nary a worry.

    "Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
    cozy little classification in the DSM."
    David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)
    ~misfit~, Oct 19, 2012
  19. Gib Bogle

    Dave Doe Guest

    I think you'll find MSE's changed a lot since then - several new engines
    have been released, not just definitions (which are pretty mucy daily).

    What concerns me most about AVG and Avast, is their one year free
    licensing mode. I gave up on Avast several years ago due to their
    advertising popups, perhaps that's changed now. But AVG, well they sure
    make it difficult to renew the *free* license (all the navigation seems
    to point to upgrading to the paid for version) - and for many PC's I've
    seen, users just can't do it, and end up just leaving it. Effectively,
    as time passes, they have close to no protection at all.

    MSE, OTOH, just works, and never expires.
    Dave Doe, Oct 19, 2012
  20. Gib Bogle

    ~misfit~ Guest

    I figured it might have. Unfortunately for me one of the PCs that I was
    running it on when it had the 100% CPU issue had very marginal CPU cooling
    (temporarilly, but I wasn't doing 'heavy' computing on it anyway and was
    saving up for a decent cooler). The machine squealed and turned itself off,
    then sat there radiating heat - a couple of times as the problem was both
    intermittent and not widely known about. I went crazy trying to track down
    the problem (yes, that's what made me insane <g>) and, when I finally sorted
    Avast! isn't that difficult to renew the free licence - IMO anyone incapable
    of doing it shouldn't really be using a PC. Yeah, the pop-up ads get a bit
    annoying but they're not *too* intrusive, at least IMO.

    I don't know about MSE but one of the things I like most about Avast! is
    it's small updates - making it a viable option for folks on dial-up.

    "Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
    cozy little classification in the DSM."
    David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)
    ~misfit~, Oct 20, 2012
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