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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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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

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