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I recently re-installed Ubuntu on my laptop (Vostro 1700; 2G RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo), and sometimes, a werid very high CPU load kicks in. It doesn't seem to do anything with the program that actually has the high load, because when I kill it, the load just spreads to other processes.

And with high load, I am talking unusably high. Even typing in a terminal lags. Then, after some minutes, the problems calm down and the system is usable again. There is no harddisk action and no strange processes (as I type this, it was Firefox idling up to 60%, eclipse idling at up to 40%.

It also doesn't seem to be a hardware problem, because when the system is not in this high load state, it runs OK.

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it may be "update-apt-xapi" process.does it appear in the "top" command in the terminal when cpu load get high? –  Prasad RD Mar 31 '13 at 13:59
    
It doesn't appear in the top command. –  Bart Friederichs Apr 1 '13 at 13:59
    
temperature issue? –  Prasad RD Apr 4 '13 at 4:11
    
@PrasadRD could that cause multiple programs to get high CPU usages? I do see the effect in top, it is just not contained to one process. –  Bart Friederichs Apr 4 '13 at 6:24
    
hmm...may be.cuz high temperature (90c<) causes apps to slow down and crash, but i don't know that makes the cpu to get high load,what programs do you use usually? can u add a screenshot of your cpu usage (top or system monitor)...in rare occasions, apps can be installed with damaged source files (mosty in manual installation) in that case apps fails to start normally or they work with errors, and sometimes it cause cpu and ram usage to get high. Could you tell me is it a random freeze? Did it start with a app installation/update? –  Prasad RD Apr 4 '13 at 11:53
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