A computer processor, or CPU, is the device in a computer that runs programs and performs calculations. Processors only run programs one at a time; processors switch between programs to provide multitasking. However, this decreases performance when running multiple CPU-intensive tasks at once, such as encoding a video while running a computer game. Processor manufacturers increase a processor's multitasking performance by designing newer CPUs with multiple cores; each core functions and appears as a separate CPU in Windows. Find the number of processor cores on your computer using the Windows Device Manager.
Open the System control panel by clicking "Start," right-clicking "Computer" and clicking "Properties."
Open the Device Manager by clicking "Device Manager" in the left sidebar of the System control panel window.
Expand the list of processors by clicking the arrow to the left of "Processors" in the Device Manager Window.
Count the number of processor entries under "Processors." Each core appears as a separate processor on a separate line, although they all have the same name. For example, the same processor name listed four times indicates the processor has four cores.
View information about other hardware components in your computer using the Device Manager.