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I'm using a dual-core processor and often see my CPU usage reaches 100%. I realize this may happen if I'm running too much applications, so when I know the computer starts to run slowly, I start to close my applications.

I usually run 4-5 applications simultaneously. Usually those are: web browser (Google Chrome), Adobe Photoshop, Notepad++, XAMPP, and Windows Task Manager. Usually I close tabs in my Chrome first, because I often browse the net with about 20 tabs/4 windows open, so I presume that would take much memory (bad habit, I know).

But even after closing Chrome's tabs or closing other applications, my CPU Usage often stays at high percentage - 72% at best, 100% at worst. I check the Processes tab on Windows Task Manager and usually found the System, System Idle Process, or services.exe taking the highest CPU process (could reach 60).

Why is this happening? And is there any solution?

EDIT
I have T2250 @ 1,73 Ghz and 2.5 GB RAM

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405 applications, or 4-5? –  Miles Hayler Oct 9 '12 at 8:26
    
Sorry, typo! It's 4-5. –  deathlock Oct 9 '12 at 8:28
5  
high System Idle Process means that CPU usage is low. It is when its low that you need to worry. Pls verify from Performance tab –  Karthik T Oct 9 '12 at 8:30
    
@KarthikT: that's odd... by the time I'm writing this, the System Idle Process is taking the highest CPU. Well it's only 20, but it's still the highest compared to other image name (others are only either 01-02 or 00). And right now my CPU Usage (looking from the Performance tab) is 92%. –  deathlock Oct 9 '12 at 8:37
    
And what is taking the most Mem Usage? Also, what is your CPU and clock speed and how much RAM does your machine have? –  Dave Oct 9 '12 at 8:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

System

If this process is causing high CPU usage, it's a driver. See these questions for further analysis support:

System Idle Process

This process will use all remaining CPU resources that were not used by any other process. That's actually how CPU load is measured in the first place.

If the CPU spends 20% of it's time processing the Idle Process, then it's under 80% load. This process is nothing to worry about.

services.exe

services.exe is the service control manager and shouldn't really be causing you any trouble.

What could cause trouble is svchost.exe which is the host process for Windows services. Every service in Windows is started through an instances of svchost.exe. So if a svchost.exe is causing high CPU load, it's a service running wild.

You can use Process Explorer to determine which services run inside a service host by simply hovering over the process:

enter image description here
Image source

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It's actually WinXP... but, comprehensive answer. Thanks! –  deathlock Oct 16 '12 at 7:14

To be honest, based upon the spec of your computer I don't actually see any problem; Photoshop is a very powerful program and can take a massive amount of resources (depending on what you're doing with it of course depends on how much/little resource it will require). The fact the CPU distribution is dancing between programs is normal, all PC's do it. The fact that the CPU is so high is because you're maxing it out I would guess. Just because you close a program doesn't guarantee the RAM is released immediately. Coupled with it appears like you're pretty much running a dev environment I actually think your CPU is doing pretty well :)

As to a solution, quite simply do less or upgrade your machine!

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Hmm, I see... So in my case even when the applications are closed, the RAM is still not released? Usually restarting the computer makes it run on normal speed again, but since my computer's startup is a tad slow (could take 10-15 minutes), I prefer restarting as the last option... is any solution without restarting possible? –  deathlock Oct 9 '12 at 9:05
    
Regarding upgrading, I'm currently saving money to upgrade it to a better machine, but since I still have to do a lot amount of work, I'm hoping there's a temporary solution :s –  deathlock Oct 9 '12 at 9:06
    
I suggest you review (or Google) both MSCONFIG (start up) and download for free CCleaner - they will both help your system and should improve start up times. There is no solution that I know of other than a restart - you could try to increase your virtual RAM –  Dave Oct 9 '12 at 9:07
    
Ok... I guess I should try restarting first, since the CPU USage has been constantly 100% for a while... –  deathlock Oct 9 '12 at 9:13

Use Process Explorer to hover over services.exe to see more.

It should show you a list of individual files and if you google them you'd see what service they relate to. You can then check if you need the service, check if it's necessary, (check google to see if it's OK to stop it, i.e. windows doesn't require it, and check your own personal requirements), and if you don't need it, then you can stop it if you want. Then see if the CPU usage goes down for services.exe

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