XP System Idle Process

Written by stephen lilley
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XP System Idle Process

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Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager is a utility used in Windows XP to show the user exactly what programs are using what portions of their available system resources. Pressing the "CTRL", "ALT" and "DEL" keys at the same time will bring up the Task Manager, and clicking on the "Processes" tab will bring up this list. No matter what state the computer is in at the time (be it "Safe Mode" or "Normal Mode"), "System Idle Process" will always appear on this list. It is an entry in the list used to describe the exact amount of system resources that are not being used by any program or application.


The percentage of a computer's system resources that are being "used" by the System Idle Process entry will fluctuate, depending on what programs are open on your computer at the time. The more programs you have open, the smaller the number will be next to the System Idle Process entry in the Task Manager. If fewer programs are open, the number will be higher. Under normal working conditions, the System Idle Process entry in the Task Manager will read between 90 and 99. This means that between 90 and 99 per cent of your available system resources are not being used at the time. To put it simply, this is the percentage of your computer that is simply on but not actually doing anything other than being available if needed.


Because of the way a listing for the System Idle Process appears in the Windows XP Task Manager, many users attribute a slow computer to the fact that the System Idle Process is taking up so much of their resources. In reality, this is not the case. If the System Idle Process reads 90 per cent, this means that in reality you are only using 10 per cent of your available system resources. In this case, any computer slowdown a user may be experiencing is caused by something other than the System Idle Process.

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