CPU Utilization

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What Does CPU Utilization Mean?

CPU utilization refers to a computer’s usage of processing resources, or the amount of work handled by a CPU. Actual CPU utilization varies depending on the amount and type of managed computing tasks. Certain tasks require heavy CPU time, while others require less because of non-CPU resource requirements.

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Techopedia Explains CPU Utilization

CPU utilization may be used to gauge system performance. For example, a heavy load with only a few running programs may indicate insufficient CPU power support, or running programs hidden by the system monitor – a high indicator of viruses and/or malware.

CPU utilization should not be confused with CPU load.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.