Please advise what might be causing the unnecessary cpu use described below.


  • When the computer is left idle, a system process starts to eat about 30% of the CPU. If any key is pressed or the mouse moved, this stops in a second. This is annoying, since this is a rather thin notebook, and the cooling is not designed for sustained high CPU usage and gets loud.
  • Does not happen when on battery.
  • Does not seem to be related to antivirus or indexing reladted stuff, since they have their easily distinguishable processes.

What I found so far:

  • The process is System, the PID is always 4, the description is NT Kernel and System.
  • When examining this process with Process Hacker (right click/properties, then Threads tab), it turns out, that there is a thread in it called ntoskrnl.exe!_misaligned_access+0x3f0 which is responsible for all of this unnecessary CPU usage. The same can be found with other process explorer applications. The address in the process' name changes every reboot, but stays the same between them.

    • Actually, there are mutliple threads with these properties, but always the same does use the CPU (same PID).
    • Right click and inspect gives this stack for this thread

      0, ntoskrnl.exe!KeIsAttachedProcess+0x92e

      1, ntoskrnl.exe!KeWaitForMultipleObjects+0x140f

      2, ntoskrnl.exe!KeWaitForMultipleObjects+0xcb9

      3, ntoskrnl.exe!_misaligned_access+0x5fd

      4, ntoskrnl.exe!RtlGetCompressionWorkSpaceSize+0x1f0

      5, ntoskrnl.exe!KeSynchronizeExecution+0x59d6

  • There is a Handles tab in the same process' properties window. There is this row, which might be connected the thread above, since the handle is the same as the address in the misbehaving thread:

    • Type: SymbolicLink, Name: \GLOBAL??\USB#VID_8087&PID_8000#5&47f868&0&1#{f18a0e88-c30c-11d0-8815-00a0c906bed8}, Handle: 0x3f0
  • Looked up the device (VID 8087 and PID 8000) in device manager, and it is Intel Generic USB Hub

  • I have no further idea what to look for.

Environment details:

  • Dell E7440, with some of Dell's tons of software installed. I know, that the problem might be that some component/driver is missing, but I still do not want to install all of the possible listed stuff. Device manager does not show any devices with no drivers.
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise 64 bit, not hacked, with all possible updates. Installed about a month ago from official iso, not much crap is installed on it, no errors or BSODs since then.
  • No antivirus, besides windows' built in Security Essentials.
  • no, this is definitely something else. use xperf to trace the CPU usage: pastebin.com/pgE11HRD May 25, 2015 at 15:31
  • Thank you for the reply. Do I have any means to schedule this? Since for the first 3-5 minutes, only normal idling would be recorded, the interesting stuff would come after that.
    – Alex Biro
    May 25, 2015 at 15:41
  • Never mind, I'll try to create a batch file and get back when I was able to catch something.
    – Alex Biro
    May 25, 2015 at 16:03
  • simply start it. I limit the file size to 1GB so that it includes the last 2 minutes of activity. So when you notice the issue again, wait a bit and stop the trace. May 26, 2015 at 4:12
  • does it work? Were you able to capture the CPU usage into a trace? May 26, 2015 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


The CPU usage is by design. It comes from the function ntoskrnl.exe!RtlScrubMemory / ntoskrnl.exe!RtlpGenericRandomPatternWorker / ntoskrnl.exe!RtlpTestMemoryRandomUp.

enter image description here

This function write random patterns to the RAM to test the RAM for errors. Windows does this during the Idle Maintenance task to optimize Windows (cleanup of WinSxS, optimizing .net files with ngen)

Run the Task Scheduler, go to Microsoft -> Windows -> Task Scheduler, select Idle Maintenance,

enter image description here

do a right click and select disable.

enter image description here

  • Still I am not sure whether it is wise to disable all of those feature you mentioned carried out by this task, they might be actually useful, and also I noticed that the antimalware service is started by this. So I'll do some further googling about disabling only the memory scrubbing feature, and also will try to schedule the task to run 1-2 times a day only. I tried starting it manually, and the memory scrubbing feature did not kick in when the computer was not idle, and also, there was not other noticeable performance degradation while it was running.
    – Alex Biro
    May 28, 2015 at 19:45
  • Just a followup: the service has to be disabled after a reboot (luckily that happens pretty rarely), because the tasks get enabled during a boot. Also, the other scheduled task called "Regular Maintenance" also triggers this feature, so it has to be disabled too. Sometimes I leave them running for a while so that If these tasks trigger some actually useful processes, these processes can do their jobs too.
    – Alex Biro
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:25
  • For the benefit of future Googlers... here are some other functions that can appear on that stack trace: RtlpGenericMATSPlusWorker, RtlpTestAndFillMemoryUp
    – RomanSt
    Mar 2, 2021 at 12:29

Unfortunately I didn't have this setting in Task scheduler so I didn't have anything to disable. (I'm on Windows 10 b1607)

But what actually helped is adding a DWORD value MaintenanceDisabled with value 1 to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Schedule\Maintenance

After this my idle CPU usage stopped being high.

You can see more details here: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/40119-enable-disable-automatic-maintenance-windows-10-a.html

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