Well I had what is appearing to be a hardware driver problem get the best of me.
I have a Dell Studio 1737 laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit edition that generally is a great laptop, but I have been seeing some performance issues. For no apparent reason and at random intervals the cpu would go to 30-45% utilized and hover there even if the laptop was idle. I have attempted all of my usual tools to try to narrow it down to find what the issue is. ( turning of services, disable devices, update drivers, etc…) The odd thing is if I close the laptop screen and then re-open it after a minute or so the CPU would calm down for a while.

All seem to get me know where. I also used a program called Process Explorer (by Sysinternals) to try and track it down. Process explorer showed that the cpu was hung on Hardware interupts.
This is was lead me down the bad driver route. As I have wasted too much time on this I have decided to just reset the laptop to the factory condition and reinstall my apps.

I have listed the steps to recover the pc back to the factory state in case anyone else has this problem.

  • Restart the computer.
  • When the computer restarts, press F8 until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  • Select “Repair Your Computer” and then press Enter.
  • Choose the language and then click Next.
  • Log in as a user who has administrative credentials, and then click OK. I choose my regular user name and entered my password
  • Click Dell Factory Image Restore.
  • In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.
  • Select Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition check box.
  • Click Next. The computer is restored to the default factory configuration.
  • When the restore operation is completed, click Finish to restart the computer. My laptop took about 30 minutes to run the restore

Hope this helps.

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