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In Windows Task Manager History I can see that there was a CPU spike and my computer freezes.

And I can see when I sort the view on highest CPU percentage which processes take most of the CPU.

But whenever the PC hangs / freezes, it doesn't update the view so I am unable to capture it.

All I can see in my CPU graph is that there was a spike a while ago.

enter image description here

What is the best way to identify what caused a CPU spike?

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    Historically? None, unless it was logged as a critical system event in the event viewer. If you want to monitor it going forward, you'll need to use Perfmon with a trace running, logging quite a lot of thread information. Feb 9 at 11:58
  • Depends on how deep you want to go. The proper tool for really digging in, if that's necessary, is ETW - Event Tracing For Windows - and Bruce Dawson has an excellent series of blog posts about it.
    – davidbak
    Feb 12 at 6:14
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    It's fairly uncommon for a computer to become completely unresponsive even during 100% multi-core CPU usage. You should right-click the graph and enable "Show kernel times". Odds are there is some blocking process which has taken full system priority; usually this points to an antivirus software. security.stackexchange.com/questions/204416/…
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 12 at 14:35

1 Answer 1

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One tool that could help is Process Explorer.

Leave Process Explorer running minimized while the computer is working. Immediately after a CPU spike, bring it up and start menu View > System Information... or just hit Ctrl+I.

In the System Information screen, hover the mouse over the spike and you will see the process causing it.

enter image description here

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