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    SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    Something has happened to my PC today which is causing the SYSTEM process to peg the CPU utilization at 100% and keep it there. This occurs even before the Desktop appears. I've tried Safe Mode and Normal Mode with all Startup items disabled, and the same thing happens. Did a Google search on 100% CPU utilization, but none of the entries I found dealt with a runaway SYSTEM process. Ad-Aware and Spybot aren't finding anything. I started Norton AV on a full scan of my hard drive (a fairly new Seagate 160 MB SATA) and after 4 hours it hadn't even made it through 50,000 files. Help!

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    The obvious question is what did you change? If the answer is nothing, have a look at Sysinternals Freeware - Process Explorer. It will give you a view of everything running and let you identify which process is really using your PC.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    joeperez,

    >> The obvious question is what did you change? <<

    Nothing.

    >> If the answer is nothing, have a look at Sysinternals Freeware - Process Explorer. It will give you a view of everything running and let you identify which process is really using your PC. <<

    The PC is so tied up by the runaway System process that I can't even get Process Explorer to extract from the ZIP file! And I just noticed none of my USB devices are getting recognized.

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    "If you answered 'nothing' then explain why you need help" (A joke)

    Most likely your installation is virus and/or malware infected. You need to perform full system scan from outside your Windows installation (booting from specially prepared bootable CD with Antivirus installation, connecting your hard drive to another computer, and so on). If you are not familiar with such techniques, contact a computer repair shop near you.

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    Joe,

    >> have a look at Sysinternals Freeware - Process Explorer. It will give you a view of everything running and let you identify which process is really using your PC. <<

    I finally got Process Explorer to run, but it didn't tell me anything specific. At some point after that, I discovered if I shut down Norton AV's AutoProtect, the PC ran much faster. Not top speed, but at least I could get programs to run. I decided to uninstall Norton Systemworks last night, and the PC almost got back to normal. The biggest problem last night was that none of my USB devices are recognized. Device Manager seems to have the correct entries for host controllers, etc., but when I plug a device in, nothing happens. I tried removing all USB references in DM, but could only delete the Root Hubs. The PC would freeze up when I tried to remove the Host Controllers. Yecch! And this morning the CPU utilization is pegged at 100% again.

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    kaplinb,

    >> You need to perform full system scan from outside your Windows installation (booting from specially prepared bootable CD with Antivirus installation, connecting your hard drive to another computer, and so on). <<

    The PC is running a single SATA hard drive now, but I still had the IDE drive which I had in the PC before I installed the SATA drive and migrated everything to it. So I hooked up the IDE drive, made it the boot drive, and started scanning. Ad-Aware, Spybot, MS Antispyware and Norton AV failed to find anything.

    I thought I'd do a Repair install of XP, but that wouldn't go: when I built the PC, MSI (the mobo manufacturer) had a note in the user manual that you couldln't install Win2K directly to a SATA drive. Apparently the same thing applies to XP, because the installation routine simply wouldn't go. I'm beginning to think I'll have to buy an IDE drive the same size as the SATA, migrate the SATA drive's contents to the IDE drive, do the Repair install of XP on the IDE drive, and then migrate back to the SATA drive. Gotta figure out something, because the disappearance of my USB devices is a major PITA.

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    Did your motherboard come with a drivers CD? You probably just need to build a floppy disk with the SATA drivers on it, then, during the install of XP, there is a message saying press F6 if you have SCSI or other drivers that you need to load. You will then be prompted to enter the floppy and load the drivers from there. Obviously, this assumes you have a floppy drive!
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    rory,

    >> Did your motherboard come with a drivers CD? You probably just need to build a floppy disk with the SATA drivers on it, then, during the install of XP, there is a message saying press F6 if you have SCSI or other drivers that you need to load. You will then be prompted to enter the floppy and load the drivers from there. <<

    The mobo manual says to install Win2K I would have to build a "slipstreamed" version of the Win2K CD. I'm assuming I'd have to do something similar for XP. I'd ask MSI (the mobo maker), but I've never had any luck contacting them.

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    Re: SYSTEM Process Pegs CPU (XP Pro, SP2+)

    John,

    You can use this instructions to create bootable CD:

    http://www.maximumpc.com/2005/01/how_to_slipstre.html

    Just replace RAID driver in this example with your SATA driver.

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