Laptop and high CPU consumption caused by ccmexec.exe

What is ccmexec.exe and inventory.exe and what do they?

Most people with laptops gripe about these two process all the time. It is quite that you will turn on your laptop, and watch the performance drop as your hard disk activity goes through the roof and you hard drive light stays on. If you run filemon you can look for ccmexec.exe and you will most likely see it being pretty active.

If you have had your laptop on a corporate network where they are using SMS (Systems Management Server), then you might have this problem. SMS pushes out patches and keeps your software updated via an SMS agent that are installed on your computer. This particular SMS agent shows up in task manager as CcmExec.exe (ccm = change and configuration management), and in your Windows services list as the SMS Agent Host. Alone the ccmexec process doesn’t do very much, however (depending on your setup) it may periodically kick off an Office update process called inventory.exe. Inventory.exe involves a lot of disk seeking, and unfortunately SMS isn’t smart enough to notice if you’re actually using a laptop on battery power.

These next steps will come in very handy if your are running your laptop on battery, and or want to stop the performance problem.

You can stop the ccmexec.exe process and then restart it when you are on your corporate network again. This is undocumented, unsupported, and liable to leave you with an unpatched machine!!!

NOTE: If you make these changes you are doing this at your own risk!! Here are three ways to stop the ccmexec.exe process:

  • From the command line: “sc stop ccmexec” and “sc start ccmexec” (where sc is c:\windows\system32\sc.exe)

C:\WXP\system32>sc stop ccmexec

WIN32_EXIT_CODE : 0 (0x0)

  • From the GUI #1: Open the services list (services.msc), right-click on the SMS Agent Host service, and select Stop or Start.