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This is on (an old) single-core a Win2003 box. I noticed that, under Task Manager>Performance, CPU usage was topping out at 80% but under Processes the Idle process is showing around 60-70%, with dips and spikes, of course. Quite odd.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

It is not normal.

I recently ran into a situation where the task manager was not correctly showing the additional cores of a multi-core configuration. A chkdsk revealed errors. Correcting the disk/file structure errors corrected the core mismatch situation.

What you are seeing may be something malfunctioning at the OS/application level vs. an actual utilization situation.

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Well, the server is a complete mess so... – Dan Jun 8 '11 at 2:41

Yes, it is totally normal for the CPU to wait under "system Idle Proces". The goal of this task is to display the procesor time for which the CPU is not being used. A CPU can't litrally do "nothing" so system idle process fills the space. The system idle process has the least priority so when an actual thread comes up, the CPU will pick the task and run it.

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