Services.exe hogging CPU cycles

Hey all,

I built my mom a PC, and despite the fact that she’ll never play Half-Life 2 on it, I built it from components identical to those used in my own machine once I had established how reliable they were – this makes troubleshooting hardware issues much easier. So what does she do? Ungrateful woman! She goes and has software issues.

Now I’ve got an ally at home. My dad, who gets a load of misery if the hardware doesn’t work, makes sure to keep her machine free of adware, spyware, malware, and so on (he is very proud that he is able to do this for her). He and I update WinXP whenever mom’s not looking (she insists that “every time you boys mess with it, it ends up broken!”). So, here’s what I know about the machine:

  • AMD AthlonXP 1600+, underclocked for long life :slight_smile:
  • Shuttle AK-35GTR motherboard (using integrated graphics instead of Chaintech Ti4200)
  • 512MB of PC1600RAM
  • 80GB HDD
  • Running WinXP Home, SpyBot S&D, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, and (ugh!) Norton Anti-Virus, among others. All fully updated as of yesterday.

Whenever the computer is given a warm reboot, it chugs slowly into gear. Last night, I talked dad through the Task Manager and discovered that services.exe is using between 30% and 95% of the CPU on a warm reboot. Interestingly enough, the workaround we’ve found is to power down the machine, unplug it, cycle the power switch (to drain all remaining voltages), plug it back in, and cold boot it. Works fine then. :confused:

So, tech-savvy Dopers, here are my questions:

  1. How can I determine which service is using all of mom’s CPU time?

  2. What makes the warm boots different from the cold boots? (Smart Alecks: The answer is not “fur lining”.)

  3. Can I somehow convince the machine that, even during a warm boot, it’s actually being cold-booted?

  4. How can I earn my mother’s endless fawning adoration and my father’s warm but very manly respect?

  5. Failing that, then how can I at least fix the machine so she won’t poison my corn pone on Christmas Morning?

See what the services process is running by using Process Explorer.

Download and run HijackThis and post the log.