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Cpu Stuck On 100% Usage

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nescio | 18:36 Sun 30th Nov 2014 | Computers
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Since last night, my computer has been showing iexplore.exe up to 95% CPU usage. I cannot end the process. After shutdown and/or restart, it comes back and nothing is responding. I see no sign of it on the startup program list. Just now, it is showing as IEXPLORE.EXE, rather than lower case. I am running XP and using firefox.
Any ideas how to stop it? It has taken over 10 minutes just to load this page and write this question.

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try "ctrl-alt-del" and then close it via the task manager, on the "processes" tab.
Boot into Safe Mode. (Press F8 during startup). Run System Restore. Cross fingers.

(iexplore.exe is, or should be, Internet Explorer. You might have a program that's configured to open Internet Explorer, to display an update message, after it's been updated via the internet, but which is being unsuccessful in properly doing so).
Question Author
I've been trying that since last night. It won't let me end the process.
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Thanks Chris - I'll try that
Could be a virus. Try scanning with Malwarebytes
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I've tried to restart in safe mode twice now. Each time, after moving the cursor up to safe and hitting enter, the screen went blank, then filled up with
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS\System32\DRIVERS\[various].sys
and stayed like that for several minutes, until I switched off and restarted. Just restarted normally to write this. I have full, paid up version AVG Internet Security.
If it is still listing different drivers, let it run. Worry only if it is in a loop.
Can you run AVG from Safe Mode ?
>>> I have full, paid up version AVG Internet Security.

No security suite can block all malware. That's why it's essential to top it up with the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/
(NB: If installing it, take care to deselect the option to take a free trial of the Premium version).

However I'm still concerned that it might be a full-blown virus (posing as Internet Explorer) rather than some relatively benign malware. (The Head of Security at Symantec, which makes Norton software, is on record as saying that the very best anti-virus products are only around 60% effective). If you're able to run a full scan with AVG, I'd suggest giving it a go.

Otherwise, if you've got the Windows installation disc, put it in your CD/DVD drive and boot from it. (You might need to go into the BIOS settings to change the boot order if your computer isn't already configured to look for boot files from the CD drive first). Then use the 'Repair' option.
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I cannot boot in safe mode.
I get as far as the "safe" option, press enter, then nothing happens, for over half an hour. The screen freezes with "safe" highlighted and I cannot get it to do anything. I rebooted normally and tried to do a system restore, but nothing was responding.
Have you got a Windows installation disc?
Ah frozen is not a good sign. I'd agree that it looks like a reinstall from scratch required. I hope you can do so over the existing without further loss. In your shoes I might be tempted to boot off something else and back the suspect disk up first, just in case. Unless you already have regular and frequent back-ups.
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I'm on my laptop at work now.
Update- I downloaded and installed the Malwarebytes Antimalware last night (that took just short of 2 hours!) and ran a scan. That was still in progress at 6.45 this morning, so I don't yet know what it has found.

No, I do not have a Windows installation disc - everything was pre-installed when I got the computer.
I will see what happens tonight.
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Antimalware was unable to complete the scan - it was still stuck where it had been this morning.
I can reboot normally, no problem, (apart from iexplore.exe tying everything up) but when I try to boot in safe mode, it just freezes as soon as I hit enter. I have tried methyl's suggestions, but nothing responds.
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To get into safe mode run msconfig.exe (use run from the start menu) - the second tab is Boot so select that and tick the Safe Boot box at bottom left (and select the Network option if you are going to need to connect to the internet). Then select OK and it should prompt for whether you want to reboot; thereafter it will always boot up in safe mode until you run msconfig.exe again and untick the Safe Boot box.
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I'm just going by my personal experience - using W8.1, trying to get into Safe Mode by using F8 used to take me 4 or 5 attempts before it would finally do it; msconfig.exe does it every time. But, then again, I do regular disk image backups and can restore my machine to full working condition at any time.

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