What have I done now? (Computer)

Since yesterday, every time I ctrl+alt+delete instead of the task manager coming up I get the CPU usage meter showing between 88 and 100%. I haven’t purposely made any changes recently.
If I try to run taskmgr.exe the same thing pops up.

What process is using all those cpu cycles? Click on the process tab and see what it high up on the cpu usage.

I’m not seeing the process tab. There’s nothing to click on when the meter comes up.
I just checked again and it’s down to 56% while I run AOL and Avast.

Assuming you’re running Windows XP, and assuming your problem is that the usage meter is popping up instead of your list of running tasks (the high CPU usage being a separate problem), the task manager has a list of tabs above the display windows labeled, respectively, “Tasks,” “Processes,” “Performance,” “Networking,” and “Users.” If you don’t see the tabs or the normal window frame with the close/minimize buttons, double-click the whitespace around the dialog box and your frame and tabs should pop back into existence and you can pick whatever tab you want displayed.

As to the CPU usage issue, click on the “Processes” tab and run down the list 'til you see which process name(s) is/are using up the majority of your CPU cycles and post the results. From there we can figure out what it is and whether you should kill it.

Oh, alternate tip: You can use CONTROL+TAB to cycle through the different tabs. This works in any tabbed application.


That second suggestion did it. Thanks a bunch! There were no tabs but ctrl+tab fixed me right up.
Now I just wonder why my CPU usage is so high.

Look at the Processes tab. Click on the CPU column and it will sort the processes by CPU usage. Ignore System Idle Process.

Looks like AOL. People aren’t kidding when they say it’s a resource hog! I’ve never really looked into all this stuff before.

As much as I dislike AOL, even I have a hard time believing it’s consuming that many CPU cycles, unless your computer is 10 years old and has never had an upgrade.

I’d run a spyware scanner on it. There’s a pretty good free one called Spyware Doctor. Grab it and have it scan your system. I suspect you might have a bunch of adware running on the system that are consuming your resources.

Unless you’ve got a failing CPU or heat related hardware issue it sounds like a hidden spyware/malware program.

I ran Avast (updated today), no viruses, and Ewido? I think it’s called, to scan for spyware. Came up with nothing.
My computer is a year old eMachine with XP. I only have two things other than those listed above on the computer. Sims 2 and AOL. Other than a few pics from my camera that’s it.
That heat related issue does make me think. The other day I started Sims and I heard a terrible grinding noise, then my game crashed. I haven’t tried to play it since and haven’t had time to check anything out.

I just checked that meter again and it’s up to 100% again.

It may (or may not) make a difference. but why are you running a computer game (especially a “resource hog” like Sims2) and AOL at the same time (and can you not connect to the internet w/o AOL…even when AOL was my ISP I could connect w/o running their software…)?

You might also look at what programs are running at Startup or running in your system tray.

Seems like nearly every application nowadays wants to set itself up that way. It may make them seem to start faster for you, but they will also really bog down your system.

And eMachines is one of those manufacturers who ship their machines pre-loaded with all kinds of ‘helper’ and trial applications. Most of them do that now – they get paid kickbacks by the software companies that sell these applications. You can see Jason York’s PC De-Crapifier (http://www.yorkspace.com/pc-de-crapifier/), which is a free shareware application that will automatically remove any of this ‘crap’ that you choose from your computer.

That could be part of it – that’s why I never buy pre-packaged PCs – but even so-called “helper” apps couldn’t be consuming all of the system’s resources. If something’s eating up all your CPU cycles and you aren’t running anything that could in any way be considered that much of a resource hog (i.e. a higher end video game, video encoder, 3D renderer, etc.) then there must be something nefarious somewhere on that PC.

The problem with sticking with one program is that there’s never a guarantee it will find everything. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to guarantee that they won’t. What’s more is that any given malware scanner may not search for the same things as the others, and may not classify certain things as “malware.” Try downloading the aforementioned “spyware doctor” or download a trial of a shareware or commercial application such as AdAware, or even try an online spyware scanner like Trend Micro’s online spyware scan for free. It can’t hurt, anyway.

If you double-click the border around the outside of the graphs, the tabs and the rest of the window will come back.

No I mean those are the only two programs installed on my computer besides Avast and Ewido. And as of today Adaware.
Oddly when I run Sims 2 it drops to 46%. (I could never have that and AOL running at the same time or it would make Sims move like a slideshow.)
At this point it’s back at 100% but earlier it was down to 46 like I said. First time I’ve noticed it being that low since I started checking.

I just happened to try Adaware today and it did find a few more instances of spyware. I think maybe I had twenty all together between that and Ewido.
I’m going to try the decrapifier right now!

Okay ran the decrapifier and rebooted.
I was so happy to see it down to 22%!
Unfortunately it shot right back up to 100.
Under CPU it says 98 for system idle. Am I just reading all this wrong? I have no idea what I’m doing.

I just downloaded something called Process Explorer from sysinternals.com, but I’m such a dolt I don’t know what all that stuff means. I know at idle the numbers keep changing at “deferred procedure calls” from 1.54 to 3.08.

That means 98% of your CPU is doing…wait for it…nothing. System Idle Process is telling you how much is free, and that’s good to have it that high.

Ahhh so I’ve been worried about this for nothing.
Good to hear.
You know, it would seem that in ten years of having a computer that I fiddle with almost every day I’d learn a little bit here and there. :smiley: