A central processing unit (CPU) is a microprocessor that conducts calculations in a computer to run programs and processes. CPU power is one factor that determines how fast a computer operates and how many programs and processes it can run simultaneously without slowing down. When CPU usage is high the CPU will typically generate more heat than it would at low usage, which can result in overheating. An overheating CPU can lead to computer crashes and damage.
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Right-click the Task Bar and click "Task Manager." The Windows Task manager will appear. You can also bring up the task manger by holding the "Control," "Alt" and "Delete" keys at the same time.
Click the "Applications" tab.
Click on any application listed that you are not actively using and then click "End Process." This will force the program to quit.
Click the "Processes" tab.
Scroll through the list of processes and locate processes where the value listed for "CPU" is greater than zero. The number listed for "CPU" indicates the percentage of CPU power allocated to the process.
Click on any process and then click "End Process" to cancel the process. Cancelling processes with high CPU usage will reduce the CPU load (click the "Performance" tab to view current CPU usage and a graph of CPU usage history).
Avoid running more than one program at once. Multitasking results in higher CPU usage, especially if you run CPU-intensive processes like computer games while performing other activities.
Tips and warnings
- Running software that involves displaying complex graphics like computer games will usually result in high CPU usage.
- The "System Idle Process" listed in the "Processes" tab of the Task Manager indicates how much of the CPU's power is free. The System Idle Process may go up to 99 if you are not doing anything on your computer that demands CPU power. This is normal; do not cancel the idle process.
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