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Performance says CPU 60%, but processes only ~5% ?

Last response: in Windows 7
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October 26, 2011 6:11:59 PM

My CPU/RAM gadget shows the cpu at about 60%. The task manager performance graph agrees. I look at the processes in task manager, and order by CPU usage, and the top two or three processes are using 2 or 3%!

What gives? Why doesn't the processes window show the processes that are using this 60%of cpu? How do I find out what is using the cpu that much?

Thanks
Jim

a b à CPUs
a b $ Windows 7
October 26, 2011 7:03:29 PM

DO you have it showing processes from all users ? (checkbox at bottom left of the manager) If not it will not show the system processes only your user processes so the AV software and other things running in the background may not be showing !
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October 26, 2011 7:24:18 PM

you dont happen to have a ssd do you?
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October 26, 2011 8:07:56 PM

JDFan said:
DO you have it showing processes from all users ? (checkbox at bottom left of the manager) If not it will not show the system processes only your user processes so the AV software and other things running in the background may not be showing !


Ah, dumb me. I know that. So I checked show all users, and it is the system idle process that is using 80-90%.

But this doesn't help me much, why does Microsoft do that? My indicators make it look like my machine is very busy, but it's something called Idle (not doing anything) that is doing everything. This makes no sense and makes me mad :-( ! Why doesn't the OS just treat idle as nothing, instead of something? Then the gauge gadget and the performance graph could be taken seriously. As is, it's telling me my machine is cranking hard, but truth is it's cranking hard doing nothing! Might as well drag the usage gadget to the trash! Argh! Double argh!!

Jim
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October 26, 2011 8:10:04 PM

neonneophyte said:
you dont happen to have a ssd do you?



Hm, ssd, what's that?

Jim
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October 26, 2011 8:38:21 PM

solid state drive, if you have to ask ill assume no ;) 
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October 26, 2011 8:50:32 PM

river251 said:
Ah, dumb me. I know that. So I checked show all users, and it is the system idle process that is using 80-90%.

But this doesn't help me much, why does Microsoft do that? My indicators make it look like my machine is very busy, but it's something called Idle (not doing anything) that is doing everything. This makes no sense and makes me mad :-( ! Why doesn't the OS just treat idle as nothing, instead of something? Then the gauge gadget and the performance graph could be taken seriously. As is, it's telling me my machine is cranking hard, but truth is it's cranking hard doing nothing! Might as well drag the usage gadget to the trash! Argh! Double argh!!

Jim


i thought it was the performance graph that is more accurate then the system process tab. Remember it only reports in increment of 1% that means if a process uses less then 0.5% it won't show, there is 50+ processes typically run at any time, together they would add up to some CPU usage.

system Idle is there just to give the CPU some work when there is nothing else for it to do. so when a process requires to use the CPU it can be up and running straight away. Kinda like idling a car when you reach a red light, you don't turn the car off.

the surest way of telling if your machine is working is physical observation. If they fun is running mad and its heating up then its doing work.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 26, 2011 9:38:42 PM

if you gadget cannot identify a system idle classification from task manager it is in fact crap and you should drag it to trash
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October 26, 2011 9:54:21 PM

AntiZig said:
if you gadget cannot identify a system idle classification from task manager it is in fact crap and you should drag it to trash



But, but, it's part of Windows 7. Right click on the desktop and select gadgets, you'll see it.

So despite having this cpu/ram "speedometer" gadget, and the performance graph, I have to judge if my computer is working hard by listening for the fan?

Thanks Mr. Gates.

Jim


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a b à CPUs
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October 26, 2011 10:34:50 PM

river251 said:
But, but, it's part of Windows 7. Right click on the desktop and select gadgets, you'll see it.

So despite having this cpu/ram "speedometer" gadget, and the performance graph, I have to judge if my computer is working hard by listening for the fan?

Thanks Mr. Gates.

Jim

As far as I know it is not part of it. U can add it though.

Did u build the PC or someone did it for u?
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October 26, 2011 10:59:53 PM

nikorr said:
As far as I know it is not part of it. U can add it though.

Did u build the PC or someone did it for u?



Someone built if for me. They are called Dell :-)

Jim


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October 27, 2011 12:06:27 AM

nikorr said:
Is it at all times or its over right now? No high CPU usage anymore?

Use the Process Explorer to get correct reading, the gadget may be wrong.

Post a screen shoot.
http://www.filehippo.com/download_process_explorer/


The gadget usually agrees with the task manager performance graph. They are both part of windows. They show usage as about 30 - 40%. But I don't see how they can be useful if I don't have an understanding of system idle. If it is going to make those indicators show high activity when it's just idling, then I don't have a way to know if my computer is slammed when it's slow.

I'll download process explorer and see if that helps me know better what's happening underneath.

Thanks,
Jim
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a b à CPUs
a b $ Windows 7
October 27, 2011 12:13:35 AM

It just gives u more detailed info than the Windows task manager.

And when u post the screen shoot maybe we will be able to tell more.
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a b à CPUs
a b $ Windows 7
October 27, 2011 1:05:44 AM

The system Idle process is the amount of time the CPU is not doing anything --- they include it so that you can see how much percentage of time your CPU is sitting idle -- For example My system right now is only using about 2% of the CPU processes to run Firefox and the other processes and sitting idle 98 -99% of the time.



So if yours is constantly using 30 - 40 % there is something going on in the background (the gadget seems to be a few cycles behind the task manager in updating so they do not match exactly but are always close on my system. While typing this reply the CPU usage goes up to about 6-8%.

I did find a rogue process earlier that was causing a consistent 20% usage while browsing the web ( Another stupid Toolbar app had snuck in with one of my free downloads of a program yesterday and was running an updater tool constantly so had to uninstall it to get things back to normal. (I hate those stupid things !!) -- SO open MSCONFIG - go to the services tab - select Hide all MS services and look through all of the left overs and see if anything looks out of place. (ie. any showing Unknown for the manufacturer etc.) -- IF you find any check the net to see what it has to say about the service and disable any that should not be there - do the same under the startup tab and then restart the system and see if things run better. (If they do then see about uninstalling anything that you disabled services for.)
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October 27, 2011 9:29:56 PM

Right, well, the problem that brought me here is not that I think there is something bad using cycles, but that I am unable to know how hard my machine is working, since the gadget and the performance graph both indicate high activity but inspection of the processes shows processes taking only 2 or 3% of CPU. When I looked at all users, it was clear that the idle was taking 80 to 90, and thus the conclusion that the gadget and graph treat the idle process as any other process doing work. So that's my issue. I pretty much know how to find bad stuff on my machine and get rid of it, but that is a different matter.
Thanks
Jim
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a b $ Windows 7
October 27, 2011 9:32:41 PM

I'm pretty sure task manager graph represents CPU activity accurately
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a b à CPUs
a b $ Windows 7
October 27, 2011 9:35:18 PM

river251 said:
Right, well, the problem that brought me here is not that I think there is something bad using cycles, but that I am unable to know how hard my machine is working, since the gadget and the performance graph both indicate high activity but inspection of the processes shows processes taking only 2 or 3% of CPU. When I looked at all users, it was clear that the idle was taking 80 to 90, and thus the conclusion that the gadget and graph treat the idle process as any other process doing work. So that's my issue. I pretty much know how to find bad stuff on my machine and get rid of it, but that is a different matter.
Thanks
Jim


As shown in my Screen shot earlier the Gadget and also the graph do not use the idle process in the calculation ( IF you subtract the Idle process from 100% the remainder is what is shown on the gadget (+\- rounding errors) - Notice in my screenie that idle process is 99% while CPU is showing 0% - If it is including that then something is wrong with the gadget !
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October 28, 2011 1:35:09 AM

OK, I didn't understand that point. I will keep an eye on them to convince myself that is also true for me, then revisit this thread.
Thanks,
Jim
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October 30, 2011 4:10:48 PM

Nikorr,

It seems like when I use Process Explorer, cpu usage + idle = 100%.

Process Explorer is showing more processes using cpu than the task manager does, partly because it shows fractions of %.

So now I trust the guage and graph, just understand it's an underestimate.

Thanks for the help.

Jim
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