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For a while now my windows machine goes into full load using all of my cores (i7-930) for a few seconds, this is quite annoying since it induces fps drops in gaming and general laginess when working.

Is there a log or a tool that can log the cpu usage ? When I try the task manager it just never shows a single process at 100% even when it says 100% cpu usage.

Anyone an idea ?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Download Process Explorer (A tool like Task Manager but way more powerful).

You can see a list of all the process and their CPU usage, and other useful information (CPU time, CPU history, etc...) for diagnosing many issues with your computer.

Process Explorer main window

Note: As Tom Wijsman pointed out, you must run as with admin privileges to see the processes from all users

Run Process Explorer with admin privileges

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3  
Attention: Run as administrator so you can get to see the CPU of all processes. – Tom Wijsman Oct 23 '11 at 13:57

Probably this process is not running under your user. Select "all users" in your "processes" pane. Depending on your OS version there is a checkbox or button labelt unambiguously.

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