Consider this Windows 8.1 machine (in-place upgrade from Windows 8) with differing reports on its CPU usage. The machine is idle, and has been for 3 days. There are no CPU intensive tasks running currently nor over the 3 day idle period.

Windows Task Manager is reporting CPU usage constantly at an incredibly high value (and increasing over time!) at around 75%.

Process Explorer from SysInternals reports that the CPU usage is much different at around 42%

  • How does Process Explorer report 42.14% usage, but its columns report Idle at 57%, with the sum of the other processes not even approaching 10%?

  • Which of these two values should I trust more, and why should it be trusted over the other measurement?

  • How can I actually determine which process is causing Task Manager to report its values?

These Proc Exp metrics were taken with Administrator privileges, and with option 'Show Details for All Processes'

Click for larger view: click for larger

enter image description here

  • I assume these screenshots were taken with a short timespan of one another? Both tools are written by Microsoft so I would argue they are both accurate.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 12, 2013 at 16:43
  • 5
    Are you running ProcessExplorer as an administrator? It won't show processes that are hidden from the unprivileged user account unless you select File > Show Details for All Processes. Nov 12, 2013 at 16:43
  • Thanks Darth and Ram, I repro'd and updated the screens using your advice, and it shows basically the same. Yes, all taken in same 2 min period
    – p.campbell
    Nov 12, 2013 at 16:53
  • the only trusted why is to capture the kernel data with xperf: pastebin.com/pgE11HRD Nov 12, 2013 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


I looked at the picture again and see that the sdclt.exe is highlighted in green. This means the process is started. I look at many xperf traces which also show this symptoms.

The solution to reduce the CPU usage is to stop the ConfigNotification task in the Windows Task Scheduler:

Task Scheduler - Microsoft - Windows - WindowsBackup

enter image description here

Please, also contact Microsoft support and open a support case. They need a case to produce a fix for the backup task.

  • Turning off the Windows Backup scheduled task solved my ever-increasing CPU usage issue.
    – p.campbell
    Nov 13, 2013 at 16:30
  • nice to hear this. Please also open a support case. I talked to a MS employee and he told me that they need a support case to fix it. Please do this, I see this issue nearly daily. Nov 13, 2013 at 17:54

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