Dell inspiron 600m: CPU takes 100% resources when idling

By summa · 7 replies
May 27, 2008
  1. hi all,
    i am experiencing this strange behaviour on my laptop (dell inspiron 600m, 1.80ghz intel, 512mb). the machine takes almost 100% cpu even when it is idling. when i check on windows task manager the “system idle process” is the only one with a high cpu usage which is quite normal.

    just now i did a fresh installation of windowsxp and its relevant drivers (after a complete format), the situation remains the same. currently the machine is not connected to the internet and it doesn’t have anything installed on it (only xp).

    the cpu consumption drops only when the system comes up on safe mode.

    please help.
    cheers, summa
  2. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    “system idle process” just means u're CPU is doing nothing, this is 100% norminal and should be that way unless u have the CPU busy.
  3. summa

    summa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hi nickc,
    this is exactly my issue. CPU goes up to almost 100% even when doing nothing. the take manager doesn't show any particular process/application consuming resources apart from System Idle Process.
  4. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Task Manager doesn't show all things that use CPU. Try Process Explorer, I guess IRQs cause the CPU usage.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Can be
    Indexing service
    Windows automatic updates (even though not connected to Internet)
    System Restore
    Windows Security Centre

    All of these services are in Start-->Run--> services.msc
  6. summa

    summa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanx for the info.
    i downloaded the Process explorer and it shows that the "Hardware Interrupts" at a very high rate.
    ring any bells!
  7. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    It's usually caused by incorrect drivers (but it's difficult to say which ones). Have you added hardware recently, or upgraded drivers?
  8. summa

    summa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    there seems to be some issue with my wireless network device (Inet (R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection) and sound card (SigmaTel C-Major Audio). once i disable these two, the CPU usage drops to almost zero.
    i know that for the network card it has a very high priority than other devices but its surprise to know the sound card also has high priority. i tried to change the IRQ on the sound card but couldn't find the configuration.
    my next plan is to download the drivers for them from and try to do another fresh windows installation.
    if you think of any obvious reasons please do let me know.
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