How to Check CPU Usage in Windows 11

It's vital to know how your computer and its apps perform

What to Know

  • View usage in Task Manager: CTRL + Shift + ESC > Task Manager > Performance tab or stay in Processes.
  • View in Resource Monitor: In search bar, search for Resource Monitor > CPU tab.
  • View in Performance Monitor: Search for Performance Monitor > Performance Monitor.

This guide will show you how to check your computer’s CPU usage if you notice slow performance. All the major components in a computer rely on the CPU to function.

Using Task Manager to Check CPU Usage

The Task Manager provides an overview of which apps and processes are currently running and how much of the hardware each uses, namely the CPU. The Task Manager's functionality is pretty straightforward but handy nonetheless if you want a basic idea of what's going on.

  1. Start by pressing CTRL + Shift + Esc on your keyboard.

  2. In the following window, click Task Manager.

    Task manager selected in Windows 11
  3. While in Task Manager, click the Performance tab.

    Performance tab highlighted in Task Manager
  4. Here in the Performance tab, you can see how much of the CPU the computer is currently using.

    CPU percentage highlighted in Task Manager performance tab
  5. If you want to see which apps are using the CPU the most, head back to the Processes tab.

    Processes tab highlighted in Task Manager
  6. You can free up resources by right-clicking the entry taking up the most and select End task.

    End Task highlighted in Task Manager processes

Using the Resource Monitor to Check CPU Usage

The Resource Monitor is similar to the Task Manager but gives much more information by explaining how your apps are using the CPU. Use it to help decide how to improve an app's performance.

  1. In the Search bar, type Resource Monitor and select the top entry that appears.

    Resource monitor highlighted in Windows 11
  2. The Resources Manager opens up to the Overview tab which displays system information.

    Overview tab highlighted in Resource Manager
  3. Click the CPU tab to view the processor’s usage. It also shows how much of the CPU is available and what is running.

    CPU tab highlighted in Resource Manager
  4. If you right-click an entry, you’ll be able to search for information on it online with Search Online or turn it off with End Process.

    End Process and Search Online highlighted in Resource Manager

Using the Performance Monitor to Check CPU Usage

The Performance Monitor is a tool to allow you to study how apps perform in real-time or by collecting data to use for later analysis. With this tool, you may discover which apps are behaving abnormally and hopefully the reason, too.

  1. Open up the Search bar and type Performance Monitor.

    Performance monitor highlighted in Windows 11 search bar
  2. Click the first entry and the app will open to System Summary.

    System Summary highlighted in Windows 11 Performance Monitor
  3. If you click the Performance Monitor tab, you will see the CPU performing in real-time.

    Performance Manager tab highlighted in Windows 11 Performance Manager
  4. If you want to add a counter to keep track of an app's performance, click the green Add button.

    Add button highlighted in Windows 11 Performance Manager
  5. In this window, you can add another counter by locating the app in the left-hand list under Select counter from computer.

    Select counters from computer highlighted in Windows 11 Performance Manager
  6. Once found, select it and click the Add button on the bottom.

    Add button highlighted in Add Counters window in Windows 11 Performance Manager
  7. The entry will appear on the right. Select the OK button and it will appear in the Performance Monitor.

    OK button highlighted in Add Counters window in Windows 11 Performance Manager
  8. Every counter added will have its own corresponding color to differentiate it.

    Performance Monitor Counters

Does Windows 11 Use More CPU?

Windows 11 is well optimized, so, by itself, it doesn't take up a lot of the CPU's resources. However, that doesn't mean the apps you are using are optimized.

High CPU consumption in a Windows 11 computer can be from pending updates, antivirus software preventing certain operations, faulty installations, or poorly optimized apps. For example, Google Chrome is well known to be a very high-resource app and, with enough tabs open, can cause performance issues.

Performance issues are a sign of high CPU usage. High CPU usage can cause apps to perform sluggishly or even crash. And, of course, high CPU usage can heat the computer and cause the cooling fans to spin quite loudly.

  • How do I fix high CPU usage in Windows 11?

    To fix high CPU usage in Windows 11, try closing unnecessary apps, restarting your computer, updating Windows 11, and scanning for malware. If these fixes don't work, try uninstalling your antivirus program and switching to another. Or you might need to turn off background apps and Superfetch. 

  • Can my CPU run Windows 11?

    To run Windows 11, your CPU must support the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 requirement. TPM 2.0 requires that your motherboard have a chip that's tamper-resistant and designed to protect encryption keys. Older boards don't support this specification.

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