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I just recently switched my AV from Avast (subscription was up) and installed the Norton 2012 package provided for free from my ISP (Comcast) about two months ago. I use my HP G62, dual core, 2.1 GHz, 3 GB 1600 ram, for writing and researching on the web (Win 7 64 bit, IE9) about 7 hours a day. Mixed in with that is streaming NetFlix and Hulu, email primarily. I am probably on the laptop 8-10 hours a day...

Now, a common occurrence, 3-4 times a day I am getting a message from Norton AV about my CPU usage being high, usually from 90 to 100%, it identifies the file, informs me it is a safe file, used by "many" users... It also informs me that all the reading and writing to disk and other functions are normal. My system will freeze, or pause, for a few seconds, then go back to normal operation again. I don't know if it did this with Avast because that program doesn't throw a pop up at you like Norton.

Can anybody explain this, or help me out?Is my laptop about in need of repair or replacement? How do I tell? Is there anything I can do? I have noticed that usually it appears to be a system service labeled as the culprit but a couple of times it was a third party program, which as far as I knew I didn't even have open....

Thanks a lot,


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You'll have to provide more details than "a file", "a service" and "a program" before you get quality answers. – kotekzot Apr 8 '12 at 17:50
Have you tried looking through SysInternals Process Explorer ( – Dr Kitty Apr 8 '12 at 17:52
kotekz,Yes i should have. I will go get some rack time, then go over my log and see what more specific I can give you. Thanks for your input. – Mike Apr 8 '12 at 18:02
Electric Muffin, thanks for the link. I had forgotten all about that little tool in my sleep deprived state. I'll head over there when I get up. – Mike Apr 8 '12 at 18:06
You might want to specify what 'this file' is named, what type, etc. Even virus scanners can be tricked. Also, when the CPU his being hogged, open up your task manager and write down the processes that are consuming more than 50k of memory. – cutrightjm Apr 8 '12 at 18:38

you should install "Windows performance toolkit" from "Windows SDK" (download Windows SDK installer, the performance toolkit is one of the installation options). Read manual for xperf.

Then you should run it with circular buffer and when next slowdown will happen you should save the trace to a file.

Lets do it step by step:

After installing xperf, open cmd in administrative mode and run command:

xperf -on latency -maxfile 256 -filemode circular

Wait for the next slowdown. Right after the slowdown write into the console

xperf -d trace.etl 
xperf trace.etl

Press "yes" to open file in a trace viewer.

You can read xperf manual and examples to learn what to see there (but the graphs are understandable). Or you can post pictures here, I'll help you.

P.S. If you will google how to use xperf, please, have in mind, that most probably the next step would be to run xperf with '-stackwalk profile'.

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