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Why is my CPU usage red?

By cookiedude ยท 30 replies
May 9, 2006
  1. Can someone please tell me why my CPU Usage in Task Manager fluctuates between green, yellow and red? Just recently it has been showing up red much more often than it used to. Also it has been running considerably slower recently. I have attached a screen dump showing task manager as a program is loading.

    Thanks in advance

    Attached Files:

  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,212

    When's the last time you did a scan for malware? Do you have anit-virus software ( like AVG), anti spyware like Spybot and ad-AwareSE?
  3. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    I am currently using Avast! for anti-virus and ad-aware professional for the rest. Would either of these detect malware?
  4. C0d3Warr10r

    C0d3Warr10r TS Rookie Posts: 33

    Ad-aware is mediocre product at best. I would use it in conjunction with SpyBot S&D and Windows Defender (beta) to be sure there is no malware on your machine. Be aware though, don't use Defender's quick scan - do a full scan the first time to make sure it catches everything in your Windows Restore directory. Hope this advice helps.

  5. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Cheers for the help.
    I've tried all you suggested, but not windows defender as it won't let me validate my copy of windows! Both ad-aware and spybot removed a few problems but task manager still shows cpu usage coming up as red. Do you know what this corresponds to - does the colour indicate the strain on the CPU or is it temperature, etc?
  6. Lekki_Sheep

    Lekki_Sheep TS Rookie Posts: 135

    What OS are you running?
  7. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 2
  8. Lekki_Sheep

    Lekki_Sheep TS Rookie Posts: 135

    That's really wierd. I've tried several methods to occupy my machine and the cpu usage is never red, even at 100%. You tried using Microsoft's Windows Defender? I've found it useful. After Spybot that is.
  9. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Its not just at 100% either it fluctuates between red and green at all usage percentages and sometimes shows red and green with red at the bottom and green at the top!! It only recently started doing it and like you say it is wierd. Can't download defender the microsoft website refuses to validate my copy of windows.

    I really need to figure out what it is because i am worried it might be an indication of my CPU beginning to fail - worst case scenario!!
  10. WinDoWsMoNoPoLy

    WinDoWsMoNoPoLy TS Rookie Posts: 237

    You could try turning off some of Windows's many unneeded services. That doesn't solve your problem though. If your computer a server for anything? Not anything big i mean like a mail server or anything. Or maybe the host of a LAN? It could just be traffic over one of those.

    Have you added alot of programs or files to your computer lately? It could be the indexing service doing its...... indexing. You know because windows has to keep track of the files on your computer...

    If you want to turn off some of those services heres a link. It lists best settings for a standard PC user, gamer settings, and the guy that made the list's settings. Just go with the "Mine". If your a hacker you might want to leave Telnet on....
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,212

    The next time you see it go red, select the processes tab and look for the process that's using the most CPU. Google this by name to determine if it's spyware/malware or some Windows process.

    Another solution (assuming malware infection) is to download HiJackThis:
    Follow the instructions carefully, (including the part of turning off system restore and booting in safemode, these are IMPORTANT points).

    Let me know if you need help. Post your hijackthis log back here. (it must be in a txt only file).

  12. Lekki_Sheep

    Lekki_Sheep TS Rookie Posts: 135

    While you're in safe mode does it still show as red at all? Theoretically any non-vital processes shouldn't be running, so if it is malware that's causing it, it shouldn't be working.
    If it's not red at all, at least you can feel a bit better knowing that your hardware's not about to kick the bucket on you.
  13. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Good idea, cheers for that. I'll try safe mode and HiJackThis and post my findings.
  14. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Tried it in safemode like u suggested and guess what... no red shows up at all! Next stop HiJackThis!!
  15. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    I've used HiJackThis and made sure i followed the instructions exactly. I didn't choose to fix anything as I wasn't sure what to fix. I have attached the log file, if you could have a quick look and let me know what I should be "fixing", it would be much appreciated?

    Thanks in advance.

    -hjt removed-
  16. altheman

    altheman TS Rookie Posts: 419


    open task manager
    click on view->uncheck show kernel times

    im not familiar with tech details of windows, but i think the kernel is the core part of the os.

    btw, i think your os is running slow 'cos youve got soo many things in auto startup.
  17. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,122

    Hi cookiedude. Your HJT log is pretty clean. I would recommend you uninstall greasy palm (dubious program at best) and all 016 entries. Other than that it's not bad.

    You could certainly benefit from a cleanup though! and use atf-cleaner from www.atribune.org to clear all your temp files.

    For anybody else... please don't post hjt logs in the windows forum.
  18. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Cheers everybody, the help is much appreciated.

    altheman: thanks, can't believe it was something so simple and i missed it!! I've been trying to rmove things from auto startup but not sure how. Is it something obvious that i'm missing again??

    Spike: Cheers for checking the log file - was kinda expecting something nasty to turn up, almost disappointed it didn't. Would've given me a good excuse to format and start again. I'll prob do that soon anyway!! And i promise not to post anymore HJT logs here again.

    Cheers everyone.
  19. altheman

    altheman TS Rookie Posts: 419

    to stop stuff from auto starting, start->run->msconfig->startup tab.
    but be careful what you stop from running, some may be stuff like av and firewall software. maybe spike can tell you what to remove since hes checked your hjt log, im not too good at that stuff.
  20. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    I tried this but it's not working! I've unselected the items i don't want to start, then restarted the PC. Once its booted up again i've checked the startup items again and windows has reselected them! Its actually duplicated them - the unselected items are at the bottom of the list with their selected dublicates above them - I don't get it!!!!
  21. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,122

    OK, I'm not doing that again. lol You could stand to even actually uninstall anything you don't use too.

    Here's your startup list with program descriptions (mainly ala google.). It's up to your own preference what you do with it.

    One thing I will say is that uninstalling Symantec and re-installing AVG will be of significant help to both your computers boot time and it's overall performance. Symantec Norton is an AWFUL piece of software, both in terms of function, bloat, and yes, even in usage of resources.

    Use HJT to do it. See if that helps.
  22. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    Spike: I completely agree with your comments on Norton, which is why i uninstalled it about 6 months ago!! I think my PC keeps resurrsecting old software to piss me off!!

    I am currently using Avast! which so far has been far superior to Norton and was completely free. I'll give AVG a go too, see how they compare. Is it healthy to run 2 AntiVirus programs at the same time or should I uninstall Avast! b4 installing AVG??

    Thanks again for all your help
  23. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,122

    you should only use one av at a time.

    as to your re-surection problems, provided that you've dealt with what I said you should remove last time, post your HJT log in security and the web, and mention that I sent you there for HJT cleanup rather than spyware removal. Also say which programs have been "resurrected"

    Though that said, following the instruction in the "before posting your hjt log" thread certainly wouldn't do any harm, and may even be of benefit, so if you wanted to, It wouldn't be a bad idea.
  24. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,212

    Hello cookiedude and Spike,

    Spike I told him to post his HJT log here and tried to be explicit about following the instructions. I guess he missed my point:
    I should have said txt ATTACHMENT. my bad. I think I lead him astray with that one.

    cookiedude and everyone: I find it hard to beleive your cpu is going to the red because of start-up menu items. Ok on boot up sure as they load etc. But once that's done these should just sit in the back ground as toolbar short cuts etc. , except for a few active ones like AV prog. Is it still going to the red when you are just sitting in front of it? I don't know maybe I missed the whole plot here. I thought the CPU was going crazy when you were just running a windows explore or something.
  25. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 160

    hi Kirock

    Its all sorted, was a simple case of unselecting "show kernel times" in task manager - it was the kernel info that was showing up as red. This extra info was making me think that more was happening than should've been.

    I did attach the HJT log file as a .txt file! Its been removed now though.
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