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High CPU Usage by System

Microsoft Microsoft windows xp home edit...
January 9, 2010 at 14:56:41
Specs: Windows XP
Well, my computer seems to have a bit of a problem lately. When my laptop is idling, everything works out fine, but whenever I start up an application, or use a full screen program, my system spikes up to some 75% of my CPU usage. It never did this before, and usually would work at 10-15% while programs opened. Even ten year old applications hang. Any ideas?

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January 9, 2010 at 19:09:59
What model laptop?

How old is it?

How much memory do you have?

How much free space is on the hard drive?


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January 9, 2010 at 20:40:55
Sorry I didn't put that earlier, I thought there would be a form with the post that would ask me all that, and by the end of registering I'd gotten side tracked.

Computer is about a year and a handful of months old
OS is Windows XP version 2002 SP3
Model is Dell Studio 1500 series
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU @ 2 GHz
3 Gigs of RAM

I'm using about 80 Gigs of 120 Gigs of harddrive space

I think the problem might be one of four options. Either I have caught some form of Malware hiding behind some system files, some form of dying too-many-times-overheated hardware, a Windows update that hates me, or my conspiracy theory that Norton is killing my computer to convince me to buy a new subscription.

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January 9, 2010 at 21:42:00
1- You definately might have Malware - don't trust Norton to find it
2- Norton alone could be eating you memory and processing capability - It's a pig
I switched from Norton to Webroot's Antivirus with Spy Sweeper years ago when I noticed how much memory and hard drive space it used up. Webroot I believe still has an online virus/malware scanner that you can use for free to see if you have anything that Norton missed (I don't think it will remove anything unless you buy, but it's nice to know and you just might decide to buy) or you can google online virus scanners for others. ((Webroot still ran well on my older Pentium 4 rig even when it had only 3/4 of a Gig memory before I recently retired it))

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