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How to monitor CPU usage of an app on Windows 10

The task manager on Windows 10 can show you a lot of summarized information about your system. It can show you how much memory is being consumed at the moment by every single app and process on your system, how much CPU is being used, disk activity, and more. The information that task manager shows you is a snapshot. It will change and you won’t be able to track the change since the values will update. If you need to monitor CPU usage of an app, the task manager isn’t the right tool for it. Windows 10 has other system monitoring tools and for this, the Performance Monitor is the tool for the job.

Monitor CPU usage of an app

Make sure the app that you want to monitor is already running on your system. Use Windows search to open Performance Monitor. If Windows search doesn’t work right on your system, use the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box. Enter the following in the run box, and tap Enter.


Once you have the Performance monitor open, you will see a graph. Right-click inside this graph and from the context menu, select ‘Add counter’. A new ‘Add Counters’ window will open. In the first column, look for ‘Process’, and expand it. Under it, you will find several items that you can monitor. Select ‘% Processor Time’.

Once you do that, the ‘Instances of selected object’ column under it will populate with all the processes that are running on your system. Select the one you want to monitor. Chrome, in this example, runs multiple processes so to monitor the browser, we selected all instances of Chrome. Click the ‘Add>>’ button.

Once you add the counter, you will return to the Performance Monitor. There will be a legend under the graph that will show you which process is which and the graph will begin to populate with stats for the counter that you added.

What is % Processor time?

You might be wondering why we’re measuring Processor time, or more precisely percentage processor time when we’re interested in CPU usage. Percentage processor time is basically how much time the processor has to spend when running a particular process. This value that Performance monitor reports is going to be more meaningful than the value that you get in Task Manager for a myriad of reasons and it is the CPU usage that you need, just billed under a different, slightly technical term.

Counters added to Performance Monitor are cleared automatically when you close it so you’ll need to add them again when you need to monitor the process. You can add multiple counters and a single counter for multiple processes.

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