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Windows 7: CPU usage randomly spikes to 100% and horrific audio distortion.


25 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
CPU usage randomly spikes to 100% and horrific audio distortion.

Hey all.

I apologise if this is in the wrong section - I did look through each of the categories and deemed this one to be most appropriate.

The problem:

I've had my custom built PC for roughly a year now. Everything was working swimmingly until about August this year. After about an hour of the computer being booted - sometimes less - whenever I proceed to refresh a Google Chrome tab, the system jitters for a second and causes any audio (be it Spotify, Skype, game audio) to have an awful amount of distortion (As if someone is scratching on a record). The CPU usage spikes to well over 80% and often reaching 100% for a few seconds until the tab has finished loading. I should probably mention that this problem also persists in browsers other than Chrome. Tested on IE, Firefox and Opera. They all experience the same issue.

This will indefinitely happen whenever I boot the computer; to the point where using it for more than 30 minutes becomes rather frustrating.

I had experienced this sort of audio distortion - just without the CPU usage spikes - early this year. I thought this would just be an issue with the on-board audio. So I bought a relatively cheap sound card off of Amazon. Problem was solved until August. I have removed this card thinking it was the cause of the issue - but with the card either removed or in the computer - the problem still persists.

I have checked the various manufacturers' websites for driver updates. I believe I have the latest drivers for the hardware I have.

Being an avid video editor, I would really like to resolve this problem. (I've searched for similar problems on Google but nothing has showed up)

Specifications of my computer:
AMD Phenom II x4 980 @ 3.7Ghz
2x4GB Corsair Vengeance RAM @ 1600mhz
EVGA GTX550ti
Corsair GS700w PSU
ASUS M4A87TD (not the USB3 or EVO editions) motherboard.
Samsung Spinpoint 1TB HDD (storage)
OCZ Vertex 3 SSD 60GB (boot)
Windows 7 Ultimate, 64bit


Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Oct 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Hello Dan and welcome to Seven Forums.

Since the audio distortion seems to coincide with the spike in CPU usage, I'm going to recommend you install a free utility from Microsoft called Process Explorer.

Process Explorer

When the CPU spike occurs, if you click the column labeled CPU, Process Explorer will sort the processes by CPU usage. The process using the most CPU will be listed at the top with other running processes listed in descending order by CPU usage. Once the process is known it may lead to a solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Hello Dan and welcome to Seven Forums.

Since the audio distortion seems to coincide with the spike in CPU usage, I'm going to recommend you install a free utility from Microsoft called Process Explorer.

Process Explorer

When the CPU spike occurs, if you click the column labeled CPU, Process Explorer will sort the processes by CPU usage. The process using the most CPU will be listed at the top with other running processes listed in descending order by CPU usage. Once the process is known it may lead to a solution.
Thank you for your reply.

I ran Process Explorer and was able to re-create the problem. Upon reloading a tab in Chrome; svchost.exe shoots to the top of the process list (under System Idle Process) reaching anywhere from 15% to 60% of CPU usage. It also shoots to the top in synchronisation with the audio distortion; only lowering its CPU usage upon the disappearance of the distortion.

Any ideas?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


26 Oct 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

By chance, have you recently updated any audio drivers? Perhaps through automatic Windows Updates? Expand the Sound, Video and Game Controllers section of Device Manager. Double-click each controller listed to make sure they're working properly.

CPU usage randomly spikes to 100% and horrific audio distortion.-devmgr.jpg

On the off chance that something corrupted or damaged system files, I'd also run a full antimalware scan with your AV suite of choice. And since no AV product is 100% effective 100% of the time, I'd suggest running a couple of free on-demand scanners as well.

Malwarebytes

ESET Online Scanner

Windows Defender Offline

Assuming the scans come back clean I'd also run a system file checker scan from an elevated command prompt (option two.) If problems are found, run the scan 3 times and reboot the computer in between each scan.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker


My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Run this program and see whether you have a lot of DPCs (red bars will tell). If yes, there is something wrong with the driver(s). The text below the bars may give you a hint.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Run this program and see whether you have a lot of DPCs (red bars will tell). If yes, there is something wrong with the driver(s). The text below the bars may give you a hint.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
By chance, have you recently updated any audio drivers? Perhaps through automatic Windows Updates? Expand the Sound, Video and Game Controllers section of Device Manager. Double-click each controller listed to make sure they're working properly.

Attachment 238536

On the off chance that something corrupted or damaged system files, I'd also run a full antimalware scan with your AV suite of choice. And since no AV product is 100% effective 100% of the time, I'd suggest running a couple of free on-demand scanners as well.

Malwarebytes

ESET Online Scanner

Windows Defender Offline

Assuming the scans come back clean I'd also run a system file checker scan from an elevated command prompt (option two.) If problems are found, run the scan 3 times and reboot the computer in between each scan.

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
I apologise for the late reply - university has been rather stressful lately with exams and the like.

I tried both of the suggestions that were offered - Antivirus scans showed no malicious files. When scanning for DPCs; there were a few red bars appearing. In the end, I just decided to format my C: drive and re-install Windows.

The PC has now been on for over 5 hours and has had NO issues!

Thank you for your assistance.


Greatly appreciated,

Dan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Hopefully the problem has been resolved. Thanks for posting back!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 CPU usage randomly spikes to 100% and horrific audio distortion.




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