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When I play audio/video files with my system, no matter what the media player is, the cpu usage goes easily high and it's due to something labeled as "System" in task manager, and when I track its location, it leads me to "ntoskrnl.exe".

I searched about this a lot, I updated all my drivers, especially audio driver, I use Nod32 Antivurs and I installed an anti-malware beside it recently but nothing has changed at all.

A friend of mine suggested maybe I should reinstall the Windows, perform a complete scan and then see if it happens again or not. because he thinks some threats have affected that part of the system. If it could be the solution, would you please help me with these:

  1. My laptop had windows 8.1 officially installed on it, so I don't have its installer on CD or portable memory. Do I have to purchase it from Microsoft in order to install it again?
  2. Would updating current windows to windows 10 serve the same purpose to solve this?
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    1) Nope; 2) An upgrade to Windows reinstalls windows then migrates your applications, it would not remove malware installed on your system, if you suspect that format the machine then install Windows 10/Windows 8.1. Based on the describe behavior your friend is most likely not correct. – Ramhound Mar 8 '16 at 19:54
  • Install the WPT (social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/…), run WPRUI.exe, load and check this profile inside WPRUI.exe (Add Profiles) dropbox.com/s/8rl4r784kvnhypf/Multimedia_WPRP.WPRP?dl=1 and click on Start. Now capture 1 minute of the high CPU usage and audio issues. After 1 minute click on Save. Zip the large ETL file (+ NGENPDB fodler) into 1 zip, upload the zip (OneDrive, dropbox, google drive) and post the share link here. – magicandre1981 Mar 9 '16 at 5:22
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    @magicandre1981 Thank you very much for your guidance! I traced my CPU usage this time in details and found out the problem is specifically caused by something named "stdriver64.sys", it was related to "NCH SoundTap". I uninstalled it and now the issue is totally gone :) – Amir Naseri Mar 9 '16 at 11:09
  • nice to hear this. Post this as answer. – magicandre1981 Mar 9 '16 at 16:30
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So as I explained in one of the above comments, I installed Process Explorer in order to observe my CPU usage during playing audio files with more details, As I noticed before the highest CPU usage(around 20-30%) was caused by "System", I right clicked on it and selected Properties.

Under the Threats tab, I detected the most interrupting file, which was "stdriver64.sys". I searched its name online and found out it was directly related to "NCH SoundTap Recorder"(a software which records Windows audio playback). Then I just uninstalled the program and there was simply no more high CPU usages while playing audio/video files, problem solved.

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    Uninstalling soundtap recorder also worked for me, I just had to enter to safe more and uninstall it from there, otherwise it couldn't uninstall because it was "being used by another process". – BornToCode Dec 1 '16 at 22:41
  • @BornToCode ..that useless software :] – Amir Naseri Dec 2 '16 at 13:42

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