High CPU utilization on newer laptop

By Vigilante
Feb 5, 2005
  1. I have a laptop that's only about 4 months old and is now sluggish.

    I've done all the usual stuff. Checked for spyware, used CWS, hijackthis, cleaned startups, cleaned temps, caches, turned of System Restore, turned off Indexing of the hard drive, checked for viruses. I turned performance settings to Best Performance. Even went to classic start menu. But nothing changed.

    There is very little running, only the normal stuff.

    After all that, it is still sluggish.
    It's a Dell Inspiron 1150 with XP. It's got a Celeron 2.8ghz, 256RAM. It should be running a LOT quicker than what it is.
    For example, if I have task manager open, after restarting and have not opened anything yet, it idles at 100% (while loading task manager I guess). Sometimes it will idle down to around 15% but it won't stay there, it bounces up and down. My own work machine, running like 10 apps, idles at 4%. So even 15% for a fresh restart is WAY to much.

    Like say it's idle at around 15%, if I move the mouse and right-click the desktop, it spikes. Very strange.

    My question is not so much how do I fix it. But I'm asking all you fine super-nerds out there what would be the best way to troubleshoot? What kinds of free tools can I download to track CPU usage and watch for a specific process right down to it's core. And find out what is spiking the CPU.

    I've downloaded the sysinternals tool Process Explorer and it would seem that the bulk of the usage goes to "services.exe" which has a small army of stuff under it. The CPU usage is not under it, but actually ON services.exe. Just for fun I tried to close the process tree on it and then I got a message that the "RPC service" has closed and Windows will shut down. That's to be expected.

    So my question it. How can I really find out where my CPU is going? Down to its core. And what might the procedure be to find that out?

    For example, is "services.exe" really taking what it says? Or is a sub-process doing it?

    I've tried a handful of process viewers and they all do a good job of giving you truck loads of detail on processes. But is there one that will actually tell you if something is awry? And track that? Like, I could care less about the processes that are acting normal, can I only view ones that are not acting normal? Or at least, is there a proggy out there that is smart enough to show you stuff that isn't right?

    Thanks a hoot
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Oh, thank you.

    If I was you, I'd disable every unnecessary service there is set to automatic or manual.

    There are a lot of them out of the box.
  3. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    You're welcome, Mr. Nerd.

    Let's see. I have gone through and turned off all normal startups as listed by MSCONFIG. I went into services and turned the unneeded ones off one by one but with no change.

    Most recently I went onto Dell's web site and downloaded the latest chipset, audio, and video drivers and loaded those. Not much change, if any.

    The "services.exe" file as listed by Process Explorer still stays at 15%.

    I think I'm just lacking the tools I need to view more detailed CPU usage stats.

    Any other ideas out there?
  4. sourabh

    sourabh TS Rookie Posts: 29

    if you have all that with no response, you have to reinstall the windows.

    start your computer on startup cd (ms dos) delete the previous windows and install the new windows.

    if you have no important things in your hard drive then format it and reinstall the windows (this method is more effective). your computer will become faster like when you purchased it.

    believe me i had tried these things.
  5. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    if services.exe is using 15%, what is using the other 85%?

    I've seen a Dell Laptop have system use a huge majority of the processor, but it turns out that it was in some ultra battery conserve mode and it just registered that high because of how it works. I'd set you power consumption thing (display properties, screensaver tab, power button, power schemes tab) to always on. See if that changes anything.
  7. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,666

    Well thanks for the replies.

    After more checking (CPU and RAM tests). I think I finally got it cleared. The very last thing I tried was SNGX's power management check. It was indeed set to portable/laptop I believe. I turned it to always on and changed a few other settings. Then I restarted it, with MSCONFIG set back to Normal startup. And sure enough, it seems to be doing much better.
    It idles a lot lower now, even touches 0% sometimes. When I right click the desktop, it doesn't spike to 90% anymore.

    That's friggin' retarted actually. Go Dell.

    Hopefully this worked, now I can delete the 37 utilites I've downloaded on to it to try and track the problem.

    Thanks and I'll post back if I notice something else about this. I was hopeing not to have to do a reload.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    sweet. glad that I was able to help.

    When its in that laptop power mode thing the performance is HORRIBLE, I noticed how espically bad it was when trying to play a divx movie or a dvd. I did all kinds of tests on it, then I realized that when I plugged it in and it was on AC power the problems went away.
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