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Michael Hannigan
Michael Hannigan , Information Systems Manager
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 11120
Experience:  25 Years Experience in Field. MCSE, ICCP, CNE, Greenbelt
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Is there a way to stop the system idle process from running

Customer Question

Is there a way to stop the system idle process from running? My understanding is that the idle process is defined as no mouse or keyboard movement. I have found that if you are running a cpu bound job, the idle process kicks in and your job dies.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
Hi, and thanks for using JustAnswer.

The System Idle process is an essential system process and basically just logs the unused CPU cycles. It is not consuming resources, and doesn't affect the functioning of your system in any way.

Is there any specific scenario you can describe, which leads you to believe it has to do with the process in question?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

In ITUNES, you can run a mp3 file conversion. As soon as I run a conversion my laptop dies. I display task mgr including system jobs and there is the system idle process using more of memory than ITUNES. As an fyi for you: I have a HP laptop (8wks old) 6G memory. As far as I know I am current with OS updates. I have run numerous registry scans and defrags nothing seems to help

Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
For the memory resources, that's nothing to worry about: what the system idle process does, is to reserve the unused memory for use with other applications, when needed; in fact, the more the memory this process shows up as using, the better - it indicates that much memory resources are unused in your system.

Does the process actually interfere with any task in any way? No.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Something interferes with my process. i am unable to even load a CD into itunes without the idle process or something else using memory resources. I have defined in Norton exception scan the itunes folder. I have done the same thing with Malware. I am at my wits end. You have no idea the number of techs that have been on my pc saying they fixed the problem and nothing changes.
Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
That's something different; does this happen only with iTunes, or with any other program as well?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I can give you another example. When I am working with videos such as converting a video to dvd, the same thing happens. There are times I can be checking out a video on the net samething occurs. It appears this only occurs when the process I am running only uses the cpu with no keyboard or mouse movement. I forgot to give you additional info on my laptop: It's a quad processor with an i7 chip.
Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
All right. Now, let's make sure that no startup services/entries are causing this issue with the system and the programs in question.

Please go to Start, and type in msconfig in the search box, and press ENTER.

In the System Configuration Utility window that comes up, click on Services, then check 'Hide All Microsoft services', then click 'Disable All'. Done that, click on Startup, then click 'Disable All'.

Hit Apply thereafter, and restart, and let me know if this resolves the issue all right.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I will try your suggestion. Please believe me when I tell you I pray it works. How do I get back to you to let you know and authorize payment. By the way I can't do this right now, I am told my dinner is ready. So it will be approx 1 hour before I can do anything.
Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
No problem, please take your time. Just add this page to your Favorites for now, in order to get back to me later on.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi, The instructions you gave me did not solve the problem. I have some new info for you. I have a desktop running Vista dual processor 2G memory and my desktop is 6 yrs old. I ran the same process on my desktop that I ran on my laptop which is 2 months old running Windows 7 quad processor with an I7 Intel chip. The process on my disktop took less than a minute. I am so frustrated. I believe this is a Windows 7 issue. I know you thing I am incorrect. Is there a way to convert my laptop to Vista?
Expert:  Barun replied 5 years ago.
Well, I still believe that the system idle process has nothing to do with your system's functioning as a whole. However, I'll open up this question now, so that the other experts may try and take a shot at it as well. Thanks.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK.I really hope that this challange can be solved one way or another.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK.I really hope that this challange can be solved one way or another. I noticed somthing when I ran the identical process on my desktop under Vista. It appears Vista does not have a system idle process
Expert:  Michael Hannigan replied 5 years ago.

The system idle process is simply showing you what resources are available and not being used. A system idle process reading 0% would indicate that your processor is at 100% utilization, which is not so good. I higher number for system idle process is better.


There is a more complete explanation here:


Edited by XXXXX XXXXXnigan on 1/14/2011 at 1:38 AM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Mike, I am at a loss as to what process is using up the memory on my laptop when I run a conversion process or add a cd to ITUNES. The same thing applies when I am working on videos. The only thing these 2 processes have in common is they only use the CPU. When I run the identical processes on my desktop I don't have any issues.

laptop: memory 6G OS 7 quad processor i7 chip 2 months old

desktop memory 2G OS Vista dual processor 6 yrs yol

I am trying to accept the fact that I am stuck with these processes runing a lot slower on my laptop using Windows 7. Can you help me change the OS on my laptop to VISTA?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have no problem paying more than the $38, if you can solve my problem.
Expert:  Michael Hannigan replied 5 years ago.

Are you certain that it is a memory bottleneck? 6G is way more than enough to satisfy any memory requirement it could have. And the processor is certainly not a problem. It is not uncommon for a single process to use a single processor. In fact it would need to kick off two to use two.


Windows 7 isn't the problem either, so please don't try to go to Vista on that computer. That's can only hurt the situation.


If you were to ignore the System Idle process, what do you see? Do you actually see the the processor usage by these applications going down? One thing to check is any power saving features on the laptop, because they can throttle back the processor if the computer isn't being used. Check the power plan on your computer and make sure that it is set to run at high performance/full power at all times to identify or rule out this as a possibility.


And finally, the biggest difference between the two computers, and the only thing it sounds like gives the older computer an advantage would be the hard drive. These things are very hard drive intensive and a laptop drive is generally much slower than a destop drive, so you might want to look at the utilization there as well.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Are you saying that there is difference between the hard drive on my desktop and the harddrive on my laptop? I don't think it can be available space for paging. I have a 1 T harddrive on my laptop and 500G on my desktop.

Expert:  replied 5 years ago.

Yes, there is a diffetence, but not space for paging. I'm actually talking about the speed of the hard drive. In fact, the more you can avoid paging on the laptop, the better.


The laptop hard drive usually spins at 5400RPM, and the desktop drive 7200 or 10,000RPM, making their sustained throughput substantially higher than on a laptop. And with video, you're talking about a lot of sequential writes where this difference would be obvious.


The other thing I just thought of as well is the horsepower of the video card. Of you are rendering or converting a DVD, most of that work can be offloaded to the graphics processor on a higher end video card. But that's not likely to be an option on the graphics processor on a laptop, where heat and space are more of an issue. Overall, a laptop is not well suited to video editing, rendering, or converting video when compared to a desktop.

Michael Hannigan, Information Systems Manager
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 11120
Experience: 25 Years Experience in Field. MCSE, ICCP, CNE, Greenbelt
Michael Hannigan and 7 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I think what you're telling me in a nice way is live with it. It's so bizaar when I run a cd conversion in ITUNES it's starts out processing extremely fast and something else starts using memory. To the point where Even after the conversion process is completed, I have to wait for 10 minutes before I can get on the net. Do you know how I change my credit card info so, I can pay you?
Expert:  Michael Hannigan replied 5 years ago.

This is a new laptop, right? I mean, there isn't a chance that malware is on there or anything like that, I would imagine. If it was, you problably would have noticed already. I'm going to keep this one in my head, even after you accept. Because "live with it" in terms of an answer sucks. If you tell me the model of your laptop, I'll keep looking around. I won't be defeated by a computer problem. We still have 90 days after you accept, so if I can find something I can let you know.


I think you already put a deposit on file in which case, you should just have to click accept to convert it to a payment. That being said, I don't have access to billing information, so I will ask customer support to contact you in case there is something different you want to do with the billing.


EDIT: I just saw that you do have a deposit on file, so you could just click accept:

JACUSTOMER-qrlazomh- (Offline) -- 0 Accepts / 1 Answered Question (1 Open) -- Deposit Made!


Like I said though, if you still want to change the cc info, let me know and I'll turn Customer Service lose on you.

Edited by XXXXX XXXXXnigan on 1/14/2011 at 8:15 PM EST

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