High CPU Usage Problems
A collection of useful resources for determining and dealing with the source of high CPU usage problems, which cause the system to become unresponsive either intermittently or continuously. Note that the System Idle Process is supposed to have a high CPU usage rate at idle. This process accounts for unused system time. If your system is responsive and the System Idle Process CPU usage is high, then you likely do not have an issue.
Software Modems (Internal PCI Modems)
If you are experiencing high CPU usage when you connect to the internet and various at other times whilst connected and you have an internal modem, then the high CPU usage may be normal behaviour.
Software modems typically have much less hardware that a hardware modem, which leads to lower cost. Because the software modem has fewer components, it must draw on the CPU in order to operate. Some software modems will have more impact on the CPU than others. CPU load can range from light to moderate, to decreasing the performance of the computer. If this is your situation, there isn't much you can do, short of buying an external modem.
Dealing With Common Causes of High CPU Usage
Corrupt system files and drivers, older drivers, corrupt applications, viruses, trojans, worms and insufficient RAM can cause CPU usage to go high. Use these resources to help locate the source of the problem and rectify it:
Links to free for personal use anti-virus software.
Links and tips for dealing with spyware, redirectors and rogue software. This class of program and/or plugin can and do make dramatic changes to your Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, and Mozilla browsers, amongst others. They redirect the default search engine page, attach themselves to toolbars, alter your home page, as well as put shortcuts to websites on your desktop and into your favourites folder. They can cause your browser to lock and die, and can significantly impact the performance of your system.
This article describes how to troubleshoot configuration errors in Microsoft Windows XP by using the System Configuration utility (Msconfig.exe). Use this tool to modify the system configuration by selecting check boxes to eliminate issues that do not pertain to your configuration.
This article describes how to disable common startup programs, settings, and drivers to troubleshoot issues in Windows XP. This procedure is known as "clean booting." Use this procedure only to troubleshoot error messages or behaviors when you are unable to determine the cause of the issue. Following these steps results in a temporary loss of some functionality. Restoring the settings restores the functionality, but may result in the return of the original error message or behavior.
Many issues that you may experience on a Windows XP-based computer occur because of an incompatible or corrupted program. To determine whether this is the case, you can either perform a clean boot or restart Windows without starting the program in question. This article explains how to perform advanced clean-boot troubleshooting to determine whether the problem in question is affiliated with the core operating system or with a program that is loading in the Windows environment.
Recovery Console and System File Checker
If you cannot resolve the issue by using the Last Known Good Configuration startup option, you can use Recovery Console. With the appropriate permissions, you can use this command-line interface to start recovery tools, start and stop services, access files on hard disks, and perform advanced tasks, such as manually replacing corrupted system files. You can run Recovery Console from the Windows XP Professional operating system CD, or you can install it as a startup option.
System File Checker gives an administrator the ability to scan all protected files to verify their versions. If System File Checker discovers that a protected file has been overwritten, it retrieves the correct version of the file from the cache folder or the Windows installation source files, and then replaces the incorrect file. System File Checker is the main component of the Windows File Protection Feature .