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CPU Usage jumps 100% --> Computer unusable

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#1 csmith56


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Posted 13 March 2010 - 04:02 PM

The Problem:
Starting a couple months ago, my computer began slowing down after performing simple tasks. Pretty much anything more taxing than browsing the web results in the CPU usage shooting up to 100%, and the computer becoming unusable for a while (simply scrolling up and down a web page or clicking and dragging on the desktop are very jerky and slow). If I restart the computer or just close all programs and come back a little bit later, it has settled down and is usable again.

This is consistently caused by viewing any sort of video. It will work fine for a few minutes at most before CPU usage shoots up. Sometimes it seems to happen simply as a result of having too many tabs open or loading a pdf from the web.

Steps I've taken
I've run a full scan with McAfee VirusScan, provided by my university. It found around 25 detections and fixed them (not sure if it deleted or cleaned them), but nothing has improved since then.

I'm not sure where to go from here. It seems like it's most likely a hardware problem to me, but I'm not sure. Any suggestions on what might be the problem and what I can do at this point would be appreciated.

HP dvt7 laptop
Windows 7 Home Premium
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz

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#2 Moby Purple

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:08 PM

Since you found malware with McAfee, there could be more. Try downloading and installing the free version of Malwarebytes:


Delete anything it finds. If you have trouble running it in normal mode, see if you can run it in Safe Mode.

#3 garmanma


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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:56 PM

Before I move you to Am I Infected when is the last time you deleted temp files, etc...?

Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune & save it to your desktop.
  • Double-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.
  • Under Main "Select Files to Delete" choose: Select All.
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
  • If you use Firefox browser click Firefox at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • If you use Opera browser click Opera at the top and choose: Select All
  • Click the Empty Selected button.
    If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.
  • Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.
Note: On Vista, "Windows Temp" is disabled. To empty "Windows Temp" ATF-Cleaner must be "Run as an Administrator".

Please download TFC by Old Timer and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link

Save any unsaved work. TFC will close ALL open programs including your browser!
Double-click on TFC.exe to run it. If you are using Vista, right-click on the file and choose Run As Administrator.
Click the Start button to begin the cleaning process and let it run uninterrupted to completion.
Important! If TFC prompts you to reboot, please do so immediately. If not prompted, manually reboot the machine anyway to ensure a complete clean.[/list]
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#4 csmith56

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 02:59 AM

Thanks for the replies. I ran malwarebytes and it found one thing, which surprised me because I didn't expect it to find anything that the paid version of McAfee didn't.

I haven't deleted any temp files in the 9 months that I've had the computer, so I also went ahead and ran the ATF Cleaner and TFC programs suggested.

I then ran some tests with videos. Two consecutive youtube videos played fine, which seems to indicate an improvement (there was basically no chance to make it through even a single youtube video before). However, a subsequent test with vimeo immediately resulted in a similar outcome as before, with jerkiness and CPU usage shooting to 100%. It did seem to recover from this faster than before, but there is clearly still something the matter.

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