First off, I am using a Dell Inspiron 1520. It is only 2 years old.
So I've been having a problem with my cpu usage always being at 100%. The problem started five days ago as I was using my computer to do normal everyday work. This has caused my computer to run incredibly slow in all aspects. After doing a lot of research on this issue I found no sure cause or answer to my problem and thus decided to do a complete system restore.
What I have done thus far is restored my laptop to it's original factory image using Dell's hidden partition. However, after successfully completing this task., my cpu usage was still at 100% and setting up my pc's operating system took about 30 minutes (you can imagine the irony as I watched Windows flash me images advertising how Vista is so fast, secure, and non-time-consuming...). About an hour later, the usage somehow returned to a reasonable state and my computer doesn't run as slow as it did. I am still a little skeptical about the effectiveness of this factory image restoration.
Would a manual reinstallation of everything (OS, drivers, apps, etc.) using my system cd's be a better idea? Will my computer's speed ever return to it's out-of-the-box condition? Is it really the CPU that's causing all of this problem or could it be something else? Thanks for the help.
Here are the options.
Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings (I like this method)
and here is what I think you're looking for.
How To Restore or Reinstall Microsoft® Windows® on a Dell™ Computer
You should make sure you have all the drivers you need before you proceed. How to Install Drivers in Microsoft® Windows® on Dell Systems. I recommend using Wndrvrbckup Backup Utilities to make a backup copy of the drivers installed on your computer already, burn them to a disk, that way if you need a drivers you forgot to get, it will be on a disk.
Did you consider pressing F12 on startup and run the diagnostic program until it's finished. Sometimes it will provide you with an error code and there are people here that know what the codes mean.
What is a Dell Service Tag and how do I locate it?
Original poster, If you have solved your problem, can you please mark the correct thread(s) with your solution. Thanks
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Microsoft MVP - Windows Expert-Consumer April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2015
If the problem continues after restore, it's unlikely a clean install will do any better. More likely the system is overheating -- check for signs of dust accumulation on the heatsink and clean it accordingly.
Just blew into the vent a a huge gust of dust flew out...then the fan started running again (fan failure was another one of my guesses). Looks like the problem is fixed or now. Thanks a lot for both of your help.