I made great progress this morning in resolving a number of problems that were plaguing my Win7 laptop. It was difficult to find good info about how to resolve these problems. I can provide more details if anyone needs them. Here are the bare bones:
There are a number of common programs that churn the CPU. These are known problems but the Software companies don't seem to care.
CONDUIT Search Protect
From what I've read, this is almost like a virus. Softronic Download service has an agreement with them and include this in their 'Express' downloads. If you have it in your system, you will probably see Conduit as the default search engine in Internet Explorer. The 'Search Protect' process runs constantly and drives WmiPrvSE to very high levels of CPU.
AVG Identity Protection
If you use the free AVG Virus Protection (or the paid version) then Identity Protection is included. There is a known problem with the AVGIdsAgent module using high CPU. I didn't notice this happening before but this morning I could see it spiking up to 40-50% at times. I had to use Safe Mode to disable it.
Dead USB Ports
I found that my USB ports would work when I first started the machine but after a while, if I tried to use one, it wouldn't respond. There is an option for the (USB) devices to allow Power Management to disable the device to save power. This was turned on so I turned it off. The problem continued. I looked in the profile for the Power Management scheme that I am using and found that there is an option there as well. I turned that off and now the ports seem to function properly.
I am still having a high cpu problem with DCOMLaunch. Haven't nailed that one down yet. If anyone has resolved that one, I'd appreciate some feedback on what you did.