Why is System Idle Process taking up 50-80% of my processor?

Discussion in 'Technical Support' started by OrkKaptin, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. OrkKaptin

    OrkKaptin Local STALKER Fanboy


    I'll allcaps all I want!
  2. Lord Squishy

    Lord Squishy Shadow Cabal Member

    ... Do you really need this answered? Seriously?
  3. Valunthar

    Valunthar Walking the path of Kings

    System idle process is essentially the amount of processing power you have available.
  4. OrkKaptin

    OrkKaptin Local STALKER Fanboy


    Well, now all I need to know is why my computer slows to a crawl after a few hours of...oh, fuck it.

    Deleting thread.
  5. thtadthtshldntb

    thtadthtshldntb Anti nBSG Troll Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    This thread should be stickied, lol.
  6. Nonite

    Nonite Perä-Amilaari

    Your system is lazy, you need to get it to gear. No more idling! May I suggest Seti at home?
  7. Eöl

    Eöl FANRAT

    Tried defragging it recently?
  8. areoborg

    areoborg Would you like to make a contract? Moderator

    Format c:\
  9. OrkKaptin

    OrkKaptin Local STALKER Fanboy

    I've been putting it off due to...well, laziness and no idea of what to do while it's defragging.

    But yeah, that'd probably be a good idea.

    I'm going to do that.
  10. Twisted Mentat

    Twisted Mentat Associate Male

  11. Vertigo1

    Vertigo1 Death from Above!

    Just setup a schedule for it, when you aren't using the PC, and forget about it.
  12. Phyphor

    Phyphor Lurker in the shadows

    Go read a book while it defrags, or just have the damned thing defrag while you sleep.
  13. OrkKaptin

    OrkKaptin Local STALKER Fanboy

    It's defragged now in any case.

    SETI@Home worked completely OPPOSITE to the way I was hoping it would-it slowed my computer DOWN instead of keeping it running quick by keeping the processor active.

    I killed the process, and my computer sped right up.

    And yeah, I tried pausing it before I just up and killed the process. Did not help. At all.

    Seriously, my computer was barely running faster than my old ThinkPad 600e-the one where I couldn't run Flash videos.

    Anyway. BOINC is going away, and I'm replacing it with the Matrix Datafall screensaver.
  14. foamy

    foamy Solidarity. Banned

    In the name of all that is electronic, please tell me you are joking. =(
  15. Twisted Mentat

    Twisted Mentat Associate Male


    And there's a setting for BOINC, which is what Seti@Home uses, to only run after a set period of idleness. By the sounds of things you had it set to always run.
  16. Nonite

    Nonite Perä-Amilaari

    I thought Orks had this innate ability to just run stuff... Or perhaps your computer is just a pretty box filled with assorted nails and wires, and the fact that it works, is a small blessing from Gork.
  17. Felidae

    Felidae Sola Scriptura Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Oh dear, I really hope you're trolling OrkKaptin. But because I'm that way, have computer knowledge 101.

    The heart of a computer is the Central Processing Unit, or CPU. It is what is called a 'serial processor', that is, it takes data and processes one thing after another, very quickly. Now, right after you start your computer up, Windows starts a whole bunch of different sub-programs that control various aspects of the computer - you can see these in the Processes window of the Task Manager. However, remember what I said about the CPU being a serial processor? It can't run all those little programs (also called 'threads') at once, so what Windows makes the CPU do is switch between the various threads really, really quickly, see if anything needs doing, and then switch to another, and then the next, etc.

    Now, the sub-programs of Windows don't actually need a whole lot of calculating done. So after the CPU has checked all the various programs that are running, Windows tells it to essentially sit there and twiddle its thumbs for a bit. Now, being the bunch of engineers that they are, they couldn't just call the time that the processor is wasting something simple, like 'idle'. Nope, they had to go call it [bombastic voice]System Idle Process[/bombastic voice]. But what they mean is that the computer is twiddling it's thumbs (in your case, 50-80% of the time).

    Right after you start Windows, and let it all its start-up procedure finish, your computer should not be doing a whole lot - which is good, since that means lots of processing time is available for the programs you want the computer to run. Depending on the extra stuff you have installed, I would suggest that your computer, with no other program running (internet browser, email program, word processor, etc) should be twiddling its thumbs more than 99% of the time. If it isn't, get someone knowledgeable to check whether you have viruses or other malware. With a bunch of programs (excluding games) running, system idle should not be consistently lower than, say, 80%. With a game running, expect the computer to be running flat-out, and the system idle to run pretty close to 0%.

    Now, as you can see, under normal usage, a computer is not actually doing a whole lot. Spread over the millions of computers around the world, that's a phenomenal amount of potential calculating time just going to waste. That situation continued until some scientists working on the SETI project realized that due to the generosity of other astronomers, they could gather an enormous amount of data, but due to stingy budgets, they could not afford to buy themselves enough computer to process it all. So, some bright mind figured, what if we could find a way to tap into all that unused calculating potential going to waste? Long story short, they wrote a program that would take little chunks of data and send them to the computers of people who agreed to help, where it would take some of that time the computer normally spent twiddling its thumbs (System Idle Process) to run the calculation for SETI.

    So, if you had SETI installed, it would indeed cure your 'System Idle Process' 'issues', particularly if you had the 'always on' option enabled. It would take the time that the computer would otherwise have spent on stuff you wanted it to do, and spent it running calculations for the scientists at SETI.

    So remember, a computer has only so much calculating potential available. Everything you have running takes a bite out of that total, whether it's a little bit (a browser displaying a normal webpage, Word), or lots (SETI running flatout, a game, a browser displaying a webpage with lots of Flash and stuff). Generally speaking you'll want to keep the number and size of the bites small, so that when you want to run a program that does want a big bite, there'll be lots of computing pie available.

    Oh, and the Matrix Datafall screensaver does nothing whatsoever except make pretty pictures of number and letters on your screen.
  18. The Martin

    The Martin ʇı ǝʞoɹq I ʞuıɥʇ I 'ɥo-ɥn

    Hey, if System Idle Process is bothering you, I could whip you up a quick C program to keep your CPU busy. Something along the lines of while(true) {;}.