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My computer shows 30-40% CPU usage and constantly 900Mb RAM usage (I assume just running Vista). The CPU usage is going down when my computer doesn't even have anything open or running.

How can I get more information as to what my computer is actually running so I can remove these un-required processes?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Process Explorer from SysInternals can help to give you more information about what is going on in your system.

Using Process Explorer, you should be able to identify which process is consuming your CPU cycles and kill it. Make sure you show processes from all users (File menu), since it could be a process started by another user or service.

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+1 Also - Process Explorer is the only to see those pesky CPU killing hardware interrupts! – DaveParillo Nov 11 '09 at 5:56

AnVir Task Manager Free

Freeware process and startup manager. Remove spyware and optimize performance. Monitor and manage processes, services, internet connections, DLLs, drivers. Descriptions for startup programs and all Windows services. Alerts on new startups.

Icons in tray for CPU usage and disk load. Quick access to last launched programs in tray. Hide windows to system tray.

Automatically change process priority, permanently block undesired processes. Furthermore, comes with an attractive user interface.

Advanced startup manager allows you to: · Get full list of applications running automatically on Windows startup including all hidden applications. · Get all additional information about startup applications. · Disable/enable, add/delete, edit startup entries. · Stop or run once again startup application.

Startup guard allows you to: · See alert when any new application adds itself to startup. · Forbid some applications to be added to startup. · See alert when Internet Explorer home page was changed.

Process manager allows you to: · Get full information about all processes: CPU and memory usage, executable name with full path, priority, work time, user name. · Get executable file properties, icon and version information. · Stop many processes with one click. · Change process priorities.

Tray icons allows you to: · Get current information about CPU usage including list of most active programs. · Get current information about HDD usage. Protection against viruses includes: · Detection and destruction of most propagated viruses. · Virus database update. · Minimum usage of system resources.

A portable version can be downloaded here.

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You could see the process path name by selecting to view extra columns by selecting View/Select columns/ Image Path name field. If you see items that don’t have an image path name, that’s because they are running from the windows directory, or somewhere in the system path.

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If you dont want to go downloading more software, Windows has software for sufficiently monitoring what using the systems resources.

At a basic level, you can use Windows Task Manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC), and use the processes tab to see what resources are being used by the system. You can also sort them by what you want to check, for example if you want to know what is using the most memory, click the memory coulmn and it will sort the list by memory usage.

If you need more detail, you can use the Resource Monitor. Search for 'resource' in the start menu. This works in a similar way to WTM with the tabs along the top, and clicking coulmns to sort, but gives much more data and information.

The reason why your CPU stays at 30-40% when nothing is running, is because there is stuff running, its just in the background. All the the icons next to the time are different programs running that use CPU cycles and memory space. By using the tools listed above you can find what programs are causing the CPU to work, and then remove them if not needed.

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