System CPU spikes from ~20% to ~50% every second

By Anni ยท 12 replies
Jul 19, 2011
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  1. Hello there, since about a week ''System'' keeps jumping from around 20% CPU up to 60% every second when it's idle, still spikes about 10% when im running a game or program (which is barely possible because of the spikes, keep getting laggs). I haven't installed or downloaded anything new exept for a new game which i uninstalled again, but it didn't help
    I also already scanned my laptop with nod and checked if it got hijacked using hijackthis, but nothing got found. And cleaned all caches and defragmented.

    Could it be because the laptop gets overheated? I got speedfan and i think the temperatures are quite high, but someone told me the temperature doesn't have infuence with the system CPU.

    Here's some system information to help along
    System: Acer Extensa 5235
    Operating system: Windows 7 professional
    CPU: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 900 @ 2.20GHz, ~2.2GHz
    Memory: 1024MB RAM
    HDD: 160GB
    Video Card: Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family

    Would appreciate some help with this, Regards Anni~ :)

    Edit: i would've posted some pictures but it won't let me :(
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    The temperature does influence the CPU. If its too hot the CPU will thermally shut down, to reduce the (speed of the CPU so the) core temperature to a level that won't destroy it. This sometimes shows up as lag.

    How hot is speedfan saying your laptop is getting?
  3. Anni

    Anni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    after having the laptop on for 4 hours its:
    HD0: 50C
    Temp1: 72C
    Core 0: 56C
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Add to the above advice, it would be worth finding out if the same effect happens if the pc is not connected to the 'net.
    Also, is there a program such as a defragmenter running in 'auto' mode, i.e. it's doing a bit of work every few seconds?
  5. Anni

    Anni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It has the same effect on battery too, and my defragmenting program is put on manual every 2 weeks at night so it can't be that :/
    But got any suggestions how to keep my laptop temperature down?
  6. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Let's not forget the amount of Acer software that's installed on the system, who knows what that's doing. Have you tried changing startup with msconfig, or booting into safe mode to see if the issue persists there?

    If it doesn't we know it's most likely a background application and can move from there.
  7. Anni

    Anni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When i start it in Safe Mode it acts normal as far as i can see, no system spikes
  8. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    A couple of ideas, if you don't already have a laptop cooler base, they do make a difference to the overall temperature, and so keeps the CPU speed up.
    The 1GB of RAM may be forcing the pc to 'page out' often, so it would be worth adding another 1GB of RAM,~( if it were mine, it would be first on the list 'to do'.)
  9. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Ok, so we can gather it might be caused by a piece of software running in the background - we can at least try that next.

    Open up the Run command and type in msconfig.

    Then go to the startup tab and disable everything to start with - boot into Windows from the restart and see if the problem stops - if it does in the normal Windows environment, go back into msconfig and enable things one by one. An antivirus program in the background is going to be scanning files silently so be prepared for that to be causing spikes.

    Let us know how you go :)
  10. Anni

    Anni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The problem doesnt stop when i turn them all off :/ so now that i have 5 posts i can show how it looks like.

    1. Normal mode: 2. Msconfig all startup boxes off, normal mode:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Safe Mode (just started up but CPU went down to constant 0% after 30secs) :


    It's always only system process hopping up and down (exept in safe mode where my laptop acts normal), no other applications open
  11. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Hmm, weird as. I'll do some research tomorrow at work and post back. Bed time for now hopefully someone else can shed some light in the meantime :)

    Edit: Just thought I'd throw this in there:

    Just a google search for the problem, seems to be a few hits you could check out particularly the first hit @ mark's blog.
  12. Anni

    Anni TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok i managed to figure out what the problem was and fixed it, now my laptop is acting normal again and i can run programs like i used to :)
    First i got Process Explorer, just like it says in Mark's blog, to figure out what exactly was causing the high CPU of system, but it didn't find anything. But then I got Kernview and actually saw that something called L1C62x86 was causing my lag spikes, which is a Atheros AR8131 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.20). And since I'm only on wireless i won't need the ethernet, so I disabled it and then everything suddently went perfectly again, and system went back to low CPU. The reason safe mode couldn't find it then was because I didn't choose the Safe Mode with network connection option, I guess.

    But i couldn't have figured it out without the help of all of you, thank you so much! :)
  13. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Excellent news! I did think of mentioning safe mode with networking but I guess it was just too late to focus properly!

    Glad you got it resolved, I'll admit I learnt something new myself!



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