CPU spikes and drops, slow startup, even whilst idle

By SimonSiknasty
May 4, 2009
  1. I am running WinXP HE SP3, on a relatively high end computer (specs listed below). A few days ago, my friend tells me that I should get better AV than what I was currently using (AVG). He tells me that he is running SUPERAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes' AntiMalware, Avira AntiVir AND Avast. All at the same time. His computer seems to be running fine, so I agree. That night, I download all of those and install them, removing AVG. The next day, I removed all except AntiVir and SuperAntiSpyware after noticing extreme startup hangs in excess of 5mins staying on the "Welcome" screen. The computer seemed to be running excessively slow, so I tried to restore. Whenever I tried, it told me after the restore that it was incomplete. From there I just uninstalled all AV programs and am now using Avast. However, I still get CPU spikes. When I am idle, and monitoring the Task Manager, it's jumping from ~2% to ~40% (image attached below). I noticed that when I am using Firefox and iTunes (I am running iTunes 99% of my computer usage times) the CPU usage spikes to ~100%. My music stutters, and the whole computer freezes for a few seconds, then returns back to its normal state as if nothing went wrong. I have disable ctfmon.exe on startup, I have reinstalled my audio drivers, reinstalled iTunes, scanned my system with multiple virus scanners, and I am losing faith. Another odd thing that happens, is my CPU sometimes drops down to 0%-2%. When this happens, and I am running iTunes and Firefox, my computer freezes for ~20 seconds, and the music stops playing (as opposed to when it spikes, the music stutters). I ran Avast boot scan, and it seems that the spikes have seemed to almost abated, but now there are more frequent 'drops' in the CPU, which cause freezes.

    System Specs:
    Intel Core2 Duo E7400 @ 2.80GHz
    Foxconn P31A-S Motherboard
    4GB DDR2-800 RAM
    nVidia Galaxy 512MB DDR2 128-bit
    Realtek HD Audio Drivers
    500W PSU
    500GB HardDrive
    Windows XP Home Edition SP3
    Avast Home Edition
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Hello Simon...

    You say that you have uninstalled all but one of your AV products... that is good. Multiple AV packages will conflict with each other and leave you less secure, not more.

    I also have used other products... for example ESET Nod32 gets very good reviews (here and elsewhere). But, Avira and Avast are both good products, and are recommended in the 8-steps (for those who do not already have AV installed). I have one on one machine and the other on the other machine.

    Is your AV fully updated?
    What has it deleted or quarantined?
    Did you try to go any further with the 8 steps?
    If the answer to the last question is...
    "What 8-steps?" or "Not yet", then I would suggest that you do so.
    The logs will be needed for anyone to help you further.
    Go to the top of the Virus and Malware board and read the three "stickies" by Julio.
    The "8-steps" sticky is the middle one. Follow it carefully. Report back when you have your logs.

    One of the expert helpers will step in to help you when or if you run into difficulty, or to assess your final reports.

    UPDATED 8-step Viruses/Spyware/Malware Preliminary Removal Instructions
  3. SimonSiknasty

    SimonSiknasty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    I don't think it's a virus. I did a boot scan with Avast, a full scan with Malwarebytes' and so far nothing has been found to be infected. It might just be a hardware or software issue? I am thinking of "rolling back" to Vista from XP. I say "rolling back" because I'm not really a fan of Vista myself. Should reinstalling the OS make some difference?
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