I have been running Windows 7 for quite some time now. Lately I started seeing that every now and then machine will consume almost 100% CPU. Especially if machine resumes from hibernation it was taking few minutes to get it started completely and respond to mouse and keyboard events. So I started looking into Task Manager. I noticed that there was good amount of activity happening. And most of the activity was for operations that I did not care or I did not use or I did not know about. There were 2 processes that I am going to mention here.
I noticed that wmpncfg.exe process was consuming close to 35% of CPU. Then I looked in Service Control Manager and found this service. Interesting thing was that the service was configured to run Manually but it was already running. I never started it. This is what the description of this service says.Shares Windows Media Player libraries to other networked players and media devices using Universal Plug and Play
If you are not using media player to share your content, then you really do not need to run this service. Change the status of this service to Disabled.
Second process that i noticed was msfeedssync.exe. This process was actually waking up at regular interval and consuming all the resources. The name pretty much tells that it has something to do with news feed synchronization. I had configured Windows Mail to read some feeds some time back. But then I had removed it from there. Windows Mail also adds these feeds to Internet Explorer as well. You can click on the feeds in Internet Explorer by clicking on Favorites button. The left pane has a tab for Feeds. You can see in the image below that there is one entry for news feed.
Now click on Tools > Internet Option menu option. It will bring up Internet options dialog box. Click on Content tab. At the bottom of the view you will notice section Feeds and web slices. Click on Settings button. It will bring up following dialog box. Notice that by default all feeds are set to be synchronized every 15 minutes. Turn this off if you are not using IE as news reader or you want to synchronize the feeds manually.
After I made these 2 changes, I saw significant improvement in performance of my laptop.