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Explorer.exe and services.exe are using all my CPU and crashing my system

I have a Windows 2000 server that was perking along just fine, until I decided (to keep up with the Jones') to upgrade to SP3. Now, the system boots up, takes a LONG time loading after log in, then the CPU is stuck at 100%, virtually locking up my box.

Task Manager reports explorer.exe anywhere between 40-75%, with services.exe making up the difference constantly to total 100%.

I was able to go in via safe mode and uninstall SP3, but the problem still exists. How can I get control of my machine long enough to reinstall SP2, or simply troubleshoot the identified issue? Any help would be appreciated.

This box is the domain controller, and I use it occasionally as a Terminal Services server as well. By the way, I did have McAfee Online installed. I've since removed it via safe mode.

Thanks much.

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Yikes. You could try using the recover console to disable any unneeded services. This may give you just enough system control to reinstall SP2. However, if core aspects of the system are damaged, you may have to fully reinstall to remove the error. BTW, never install service packs with any type of antivirus software running.

Editor's Note: This user-submitted tip may also be of assistance: Recover the task bar quickly after explorer.exe crashes.

This was first published in June 2003

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