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  1. #1
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    System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    System Idle Processes slow down performance.
    What is it the system is doing when the task manager indicates that the system idle processes are using anywhere from 40 to 100% CPU. This is going on intermittently with no other processes in task manager showing any activity. During such activity the use of photo shop for instance is severely hampered. Starting windows in diagnostic mode with only 12 processes listed, shows the same pattern. System idle processes demand a 50 to 80% CPU usage for intermittent durations and eventually settle down again to below 10% values just like in normal window startup with 39 processes listed.
    The system is thoroughly scanned for viruses and spy ware and is klean.
    Any ideas out there what is going on here?

    DELL 8200
    CPU P4 2.2 GHz
    512 MB RDRAM
    HD 80 GB 7200 RPM
    Windows XP Home

    Thanks,
    Oskar

  2. #2
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    Hi Oskar,
    System Idle Processes is a catch-all heading for all unused CPU clicks. If Photo Shop seems to be running slow it's not necessarily due to the lack of CPU resources. In fact, a high System Idle Processes count indicates that the bottleneck is elsewhere. More likely it's to do with lack of Memory or a slow transfer between Memory and the Hard Drive.

    Hope this helps.
    Owen

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    System Idle is not a "real" process.

    When there is no process running, the system has to pretend that something is the current process, so it says that System Idle Process is running. If System Idle Process is getting a lot of CPU time this simply means that your CPU wasn't busy. If Photoshop is running slowly at this time then it is NOT waiting for the CPU, it is probably doing disk I/O.

    Do you have enough memory? Photoshop can use a lot of physical memory and will run very slowly if it is using the pagefile on disk instead of real RAM. Have a look at the performance tab in Task Manager. How much physical memory is used? How much available? Is your Page File Usage higher at times when you get performance problems that at other times?

    StuartR

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    Thanks for the clarification, but something I do not quite understand. If I can hear the hard drive working its tail of, lights blinking and all, and then I see in task manager the CPU performance curve peaking at 80 to 100%, am I looking at a mirage? If I use photo shop at such time it is slow, but the moment I start using photo shop at a time these CPU performance peaks have settled down, every thing is fine. I did look closely at my RAM loads and see no low resource situations when the slow downs occur, they are strictly associated with elevated CPU usage indications. Also other applications such as IE or Word are slow in opening and performance and are not nearly as demanding on RAM then photo shop.
    Also I posted earlier a problem with a

  5. #5
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    Do you have the Indexing Service running? The only reason to really have this running is if you do a lot of content searching on text files.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    No Joe, i shoot this down some time ago.

    Oskar

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    CPU utilisiation is always exactly equal to (100% - System Idle Process CPU %)

    If the CPU usage curve is peaking at high values then the system idle process will show very low values.

    If your slowdown comes at a time when CPU usage is high then we need to identify what process is using the CPU time. It is possible that task manager is not capturing the data in a way that lets you see this clearly. Can you try capturing performance data by
    <UL><LI>Start > Run > Perfmon.msc
    <LI>Open performance logs and alerts in the left hand pane
    <LI>Select Counter logs in the left hand pane
    <LI>Right click in right hand pane and chose "New log settings"
    <LI>Give this new log a name in the dialog box ("CPU by process", for example)
    <LI>Click Add Counters
    <LI>Select Performance Object "Process"
    <LI>Select Counter "%Processor Time"
    <LI>Select All Instances
    <LI>Click Add
    <LI>Click Close
    <LI>Change the monitoring interval from the default 15 seconds to 1 second
    <LI>Click OK
    <LI>Allow the new log to be created when prompted
    <LI>Wait till the problem has occurred
    <LI>Rght click your new counter and choose Stop
    <LI>Select System Monitor in the left hand pane
    <LI>Click the "View log data" icon (picture of a disk drive)
    <LI>Select data source > Log Files
    <LI>Click Add
    <LI>Select your log file
    <LI>Select the three default displays at the bottom and click the X icon to delete these
    <LI>Click the + icon and Add all instances of Process CPU time
    <LI>Select the entry for _Total and delete it[/list]You should now have a graph showing how much CPU time each process used during the time interval of your data collection. Look to see which processes used up your CPU at the time of the problem.

    Don't let this counter run all the time or the log file could fill up your disk.

    StuartR

    Edited by StuartR to add
    If the disk drive is "working its tail off" then your problem is almost certainly not CPU utilisation, maybe we should add some extra counters to the performance log so we can see which process(es) are using the disk and memory

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Re: System Idle Processes (2002 /SP1)

    Thanks StuartR, this will allow me to do some detective work. Maybe I can get to the bottom of this.
    Regards,
    Oskar

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