Programs using extra CPU/100% CPU usage

  boredsomeone 04:17 26 Feb 2013

Hello, a friend of mine recently went back to using their laptop after their main computer died (Doesn't receive power, getting it fixed soonish possibly). Their laptop uses Vista, and they used to mainly use the laptop around 1 year ago. Since then, their parents sometimes use it to watch videos/movies, but that's about it.

The issue they are encountering is, after about 15 minutes of being turned on, the CPU usage shoots up to 90-100%, even while idle. This makes the computer, and anything she is running, start to stutter/freeze. This goes on indefinitely (tested over night, so at least 10+ hours). The laptop has 3 gigs of ram, and has played much more graphically intense/system heavy things before with minor to no stuttering/lag. We have both tried looking up possible fixes (listed below) but so far, nothing has helped.

  • Running multiple virus scans
  • Cleaning the registry (CCleaner)
  • Scanning for virus' while in safe mode
  • Installing updates (a good years worth)
  • Installing Service Pack 2

I've seen plenty of people asking about SVhost causing the issue, but SVhost runs at low/normal CPU usage during all of this. The main programs that shoot up at Skype, and a game we are playing (tried with multiple games, and we've tried with just one or the other). While idle, the CPU usage states that it's around 75-100%, but nothing on the process list shows that it's consuming all the of the CPU.

Just to compare to make sure it was the game/skype, I compared her usage to mine. During the first 5 minutes or so, the game was about 3-10%, only going up to 10% when we were actively playing. Then when the stuttering started, the game slowly worked its way up from 10, and evened out around 40-50% while idle on the game. Skype would shoot up to around 30-40% as well, with the rest of the programs running normally and taking up a grand total of around 10%

Any help possible would be very much appreciated, but if you want to suggest to do a System Restore, it's not currently possible (Their parents don't want to lose whatever they have on the laptop, apparently).

Thank you for your time.

  boredsomeone 16:46 26 Feb 2013

It was stuttering before and after the updates. The programs we used to scan were; Malwarebytes Microsoft security essentials AVG Anti-virus

And when the system is idle, it does show Idle Process running at 90-97%, but the computer is still stuttering and the CPU usage at the bottom displays as 95-100%, as if there's a program using all of its resources.

  boredsomeone 23:19 26 Feb 2013

Both were installed to try and fix the stuttering. They prefer to only use Malwarebytes anyways, both were my own suggestion to help scan for a virus. I'll have them remove them both though, just to be sure we don't fix the original issue and have those two programs making us think we haven't.

  rdave13 23:41 26 Feb 2013

Next time check what's using the ram on your laptop. Get rid of MSE, especially if you have the paid for version of Malwarebytes and run AVG.

Look in task manager and the memory usage of each program. Internet Explorer is usually quite high but check others in the list.

  rdave13 23:56 26 Feb 2013

Jock1e , CPU usage shoots up to 90-100% after a few minutes. Suggesting to me that something is using a lot of ram and the CPU is compensating. I'd set windows update to 'notify me but let me download and install'.

Click here., might help.

  boredsomeone 02:14 27 Feb 2013

We got rid of MSE, as well as AVG, since she prefers to just use Malwarebytes to scan from time to time. As for what process' using a lot of CPU/RAM, we know which process(es) it is, but we don't understand why it's running so high.

When they start up a game, the game runs fine (5-25% of the CPU being used depending on what they are doing on the game), but after 10-20 minutes, the entire laptop will start stuttering. The games CPU usage will shoot up to a constant 40-50, and other programs slowly slide up, but never pass 10 (Still, enough processes are running that all of them being at 5 would cap out the CPU).

The total CPU usage then drifts from 90% to 100%, with the stuttering only occurring when the CPU hits 100%. This fluctuation is constant, whether they are idle and not doing anything, or playing the game. (Meaning, they could be playing the game and the CPU is sitting at 90-95, and shoot up to 100 randomly, or they could just be watching task manager without touching their computer and the CPU maxes out for a few minutes, then drops down, and then maxes out again a short while later).

And yes Jock1e, System Idle Process runs high when they first start up, and seems to normally (which is good). But it drops to 0-9% when the stuttering begins. Thanks for the replies/help so far, still looking for a fix.

  boredsomeone 02:40 28 Feb 2013

A bit more information.

We've tested it some more, and it would seem that the game we run (Any game we run) will run fine, the computer will run normally as stated for the first few minutes, but after a short time, the CPU will cap out as stated.

This means that any active program running seems to eventually cause an issue. I'm not sure if this will help more or not, but it's the most information we could gather so far.

We also know that it's not the computers hard drive not having enough space, they have a few 100 Gigs of space left.

Other things we've done now include Defragmenting and watching task manager to see if there's any suspicious looking processes. All we see is that all process' go up slightly, along with anything that would usually take a decent amount of CPU (10-20) continue to rise until the CPU is capped.

As for a system restore, they don't have the Vista (or any OS) installation disc on hand. Their parents most likely got rid of it at some point in time.

At the end of our rope though, not sure what else to try. Any tests we can run to find the source of the issue, or any help at all really would be appreciated. Thanks.

  rdave13 09:15 28 Feb 2013

Try using 'clean startup' procedure to find if a service is conflicting. Just remember to Hide All Microsoft Services when trying out.

  boredsomeone 02:59 01 Mar 2013

Yes, everything else just raises slightly to take up the CPU that was freed up from disabling it.

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