What is "system idle process"

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by johntherubbish, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. My machine has started running slowly even though the taks manager
    says the CPU usage is around 5%. According to the "Processes" tab
    around 98% of the CPU is taken up by "System Idle Process". Is this
    the source of my problem? What can I do to sort it?

    John T

    To reply by email take out "the rubbish".
    johntherubbish, Nov 26, 2007
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  2. johntherubbish

    Paul Guest


    The "System Idle Process" is what runs when there are no other
    processes to run. If that process uses the HLT instruction,
    the processor actually halts until the next clock tick interrupt.
    An interrupt, like the clock tick interrupt, can awake a processor
    that has been HLTed. Then the scheduler decides which process to
    run next and so on.

    If the system is idle, the "System Idle Process" gets 100% of the
    available time. The rest of the time is spent by the scheduler.
    The machine would be HLTed much of the time in that case.

    So: 100% minus "Idle" = total_of_busy_processes or thereabouts.

    When a machine slows down, that can be due to the disks running
    in PIO mode (only disk I/O is affected), tons of spurious interrupts,
    some kernel level activity that isn't going right. It could even be
    processor caches disabled, that would cause a slowdown.

    So the usual question is, what are the visible symptoms ?

    If you want to benchmark your drives, try something like this:
    A flat line on the chart, and performance of 4MB/sec, means
    a disk could be in PIO mode.


    Paul, Nov 27, 2007
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  3. if system idle process is like that, that means you can rule out that
    a process is chewing at your CPU.

    it could be a process using lots of RAM.

    in that same "task manager" that comes up when you do CTRL-ALT-
    DELETE, sort by memory usage - memusage. Then see if anything
    sticks out.

    If you had an anti virus running in the background, then you may see
    that using alot of memory.. Or sometimes viewing a page with internet
    explorer, the computer goes very slow, perhaps it is installing
    something, but anyhow, one can close it with End Task. Often one sees
    some process chewing up lots and lots of RAM. And when you "end task"
    that process, the computer goes back to normal speed.

    of course, the classic thing to end when the computer crashes, is
    explorer.exe (then file..new..explorer.exe) and windows often wakes up
    out of the crash, thus avoiding a restart. (just thought i`d throw
    that in since we are talking about `end task`.
    jameshanley39, Nov 28, 2007
  4. johntherubbish

    Travis Guest

    Exactly what the responses have said. Make sure you do this first
    _before_ you ask questions:

    1. Open your internet browser (Make sure your computer is _on_)
    2. Use the address bar and go to Google ("http://www.google.com")
    _Without_ parenthesis and quotes.
    3. Look for the big white bar in the middle with no text, when you
    click on it, it will blink with the text cursor.
    4. Use your keyboard and type "system idle process" _WITH_ quotes
    5. Press the "Return" or "Enter" key on your keyboard (On a standard
    keyboard, it is 13th from the left 4th line, it may or may not be
    capitalized, and generally takes up two spaces across and sometimes
    one above (would be the 14th, 3rd line). It also usually has a little
    line with a upwards tail and arrow-head at the end (or start if you
    use that logic)).
    6. Wait. It will load, trust me. Then on the results page look for a
    good site and then click on it. Read the information, check other
    sites if necessary and read the information.
    7. Say "Oh Thanks, Google!" (_Without_ quotes) and then close your Tab
    or Window that says "alt.computer | Google Gropes" (_Without_ quotes)

    Hope that helps ;)
    Travis, Dec 1, 2007
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