Monitor Windows CPU Usage

February 12, 2008 – 7:07 pm by Gabe Anderson | 2 Comments

From the archives: I originally published this entry on Wednesday, January 25th, 2006. This entry was never the most popular — 494 page views with 450 unique through 11/13/2006 — but it’s one of the first things I find myself doing whenever setting up a new computer, so hopefully you’ll find it useful.

One update for Windows Vista / Windows 7 users — this will still work, but your path noted below would be this:

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Cool tip of the day, courtesy of, is an easy way to always have your Windows Task Manager launch and minimized every time you reboot so that you can obsessively monitor your CPU usage (like I do):

To get the Task Manager to launch minimized at startup reliably, I’ve created a shortcut startup item with the target C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /c start /min “Task Manager” taskmgr.exe


It works. I’ve zipped my own cmd.exe startup shortcut for you to download here. Just unzip, throw it in your startup items, and you’re good to go. Note that your startup programs are usually in the below path, unless you’ve changed it to be somewhere on your data partition with a tool like Tweak UI (a tip for another day, but something I’d recommend doing so you can comfortably reinstall your OS and not lose your startup items, among other things):

C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

If you’re curious, the items in my taskbar in that screenshot are, from left to right, Trillian, Norton AntiVirus, GoToMyPc, Yahoo Desktop, Mozy, Task Manager, and Volume Control. I have other items in my task bar, which are not shown, but I’ll leave you guessing what those may be. I know, I know, the suspense is killing you.

It’s suddenly snowing like crazy this morning, so it’s starting off to be a very good day.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Monitor Windows CPU Usage”

  2. I use Process Explorer by Sysinternals instead of the Windows Task Manager. It provides more information on the processes with more display options. The one piece of information that I find crucial is the files locked by a process. And, of course, you can search for a string so if you are trying to delete a file but Windows claims it is locked you can find out which is the offending application. Oh, and it’s free.

    By shrey on Jan 25, 2006

  3. For the record (from this post):

    When the system tray icon will not appear when task manager is active:

    1. launch task manager (either right click task bar and select task manager, or ctrl-alt-delete and select it)
    2. view processes (click Processes tab) and find taskmgr.exe
    3. end the process (right click/end process or select it and click End Process)
    4. relaunch taskmanager (see step 1)

    By gabe on Nov 16, 2010

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