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AVMUG
Antelope Valley Microcomputer Users Group
Meeting Schedule - 7:00 p.m.
Third Wednesday of each month
At the Antelope Valley Senior Center
777 West Jackman Street
Lancaster CA. 93539-2942

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Q:
I hit Ctrl+Alt+Del (in Win XP) and looked at my running processes and it showed "System Idle Processes" at 90%. What does that mean?

A:
When you click on the "Applications" tab in Windows Task Manager you'll see a column marked "CPU". This tells what percentage of your RAM is being used. The value of this column must always add up to 100%.

Don't worry though, "System Idle Process" is simply a placeholder process that lets you know how much space is not being used by other processes.

Monitor Your CPU Activity

I don't know about you, but I'm a hardcore multi-tasker. Sometimes I'll have four programs up, two web browser windows, and some music playing all at the same time. For a while I had a real problem with my computer freezing up since I didn't know how many running programs were too many. Then I learned to monitor my CPU usage.

Windows 98/Me has a Resource Meter that puts a little icon down in your System Tray so you can always see what's going on. To open it go to Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Resource Meter. (If it's not showing up, you must dig your Windows 98 disk out of mothballs and add it.)

See the little green graph down in your System Tray by the clock?

Mouse over it and you will see the percentage of your CPU being used. Double click and you will get a more detailed representation

The more programs you open, the lower the numbers get. if you are down around 30% and try to save something or play a game, don't be surprised if you have a freeze up. With time you'll get in the habit of shutting processes down (like Anti-virus and firewall when you aren't even online) when you play games or burn CD-R's.

You can also add the resource meter to your toolbar by right-clicking the program in your Start / Programs / etc. then choosing "Send To: Desktop". Drag the Desktop icon to your Toolbar and there you go. Now, you can just click the toolbar icon to show available resources in your System Tray for easy monitoring.

To see how much RAM your programs are using in Windows XP just do CTRL+ALT+Delete and click the "Performance" tab. There you will find both a meter and a graph showing you how much RAM is being used by programs, among other things.

I noticed that spikes of up to 97% happen when I open a program (shows you why it's not a good idea to open programs when you're burning a CD).

If you minimize the window, you'll still see a little box down in the system tray that displays CPU usage.

Double-click it and you'll see the full Task Manager.

If you find you are consistently over 80%, you might want to try turning off the firewall and anti-virus when you are not online and need to run a program that sucks up system resources.


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