My computer has been running really weirdly lately. When I start up or reboot, it permanently slows to a crawl (and sometimes freezes). It seems like it just isn't loading properly. there are several things you should know:

1. I've run Adaware/Spybot/SymantecAV and none of these have detected anything.

2. My Task Manager --> processes says that nothing besides "System Idle Process" is running, but the CPU usage is still between 90-100%.

3. I've also tried a recovery install of XP, and that didn't help either.

4. To add to the mess, sometimes it DOES boot up properly, works for awhile, and then randomly shoots up to 100% usage.

Can anyone offer any suggestions? Do you think this is hardware related? RAM? Mobo? If anyone can help or even suggest anything, I'd love to hear it.

See in the task manager which process is taking so much cpu usage ...

Thanks for your reply. The funny thing about the problem I was having was that the Task Manager said that nothing was being used (except System Idle Process), but the CPU usage was still between 70-90%.

Wanna know what happened? Somehow my RAM or SATA hard drive cables had come lose. I just jostled them a bit, made sure they were plugged in and now everything works fine. For once it wasn't Windows to blame!

I'm no coder, but it would be fantastic if someone could develop a specific set of hardware tests targeted at each component of your computer, using something comparable to the binary system we used in high school biology. It seems to me that if a program could simply try to send a message or instruction to my drive (or whererver), then retreive it, if it didn't come back right, I would have had the problem narrowed down significantly. Then it could test for possible locations on the path where the message was lost (RAM, Mobo components, etc.) The idea would be that it tells you (at least roughly) where things get screwed up.

Just a thought. I eventually figured it out through a week of pain.