Our computers are capable of handling most of the functions we throw at them but there may be times it runs particularly slow. There can be a number of reasons for this but one may be a high CPU usage. Read on to find out what this means:

CPU for computer

The Knowhow

The CPU (Core Processing Unit) is the brain of your computer. CPU usage refers to your computer's processor and how much work it's doing.

A high reading means your computer is running at the maximum level or above normal level for the number of applications running.

Slow performance, freezing and shutdowns are all symptoms of high CPU use.

To check CPU usage

Open the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) and then go to Task List. Hit the Performance tab. The screen below should appear showing the CPU usage on your computer.

windows task manager

Typically, your processor usage shouldn't go over 50% unless using large applications such as video games or media editing programs.

If your computer performs slowly and displays a high CPU usage percentage in the task manager, there is an underlying problem that is causing the processor to run at such an extreme speed. A CPU constantly running at a high level is not normal.

How High CPU Usage May Be Caused

Running too many applications at once

Many CPU issues are because of an overload of processes running, and too little resources to handle all of them.

You need to find which processes are clogging up your computer's performance and remedy them.

You can download a program such as FixCleaner which can help you find out the programs which are giving you a high CPU use reading.

Not enough virtual memory

You may need to change your computer's virtual memory settings. Click here for more information: Virtual Memory too low

Other reasons are:

  • Overheating/Poor ventilation
  • Virus/Malware infections
  • Out-of-date drivers

If these don't solve the problem our Knowhow™ Fault and Fix service may be able to help you.

PC Fault and Fix

Updated On:

Aug 01, 2012

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