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On my dual-socket server, I occasionally see that CPU usage absolutely spikes to 100% on all cores for about 5 seconds at random periods during the day. It happens about once or twice a day. The only reason I found out about this was due to the logs of another application I'm running. What tools does Windows Server 2008 R2 have that will help me catch exactly what is doing this? I'm not running anything that should ever max out all 12 cores at once.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Performance Monitor.

I'd use perfmon.exe to set up CPU logging and record what process is causing the spikes. Once you know, you can dig into the process in question with any number of tools, including more detailed logging with perfmon.exe, if you still need help after finding the misbehaving process.

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I'm trying to set up the counters right now. All I basically want is total CPU usage and CPU usage by process. – eek142 Sep 11 '12 at 17:31
Alright, just created my data collector set and it's logging now. What is the best way to go through the data? – eek142 Sep 11 '12 at 17:41
Within perfmon you can view historical data by clicking the "Log Data" button and pointing it to your log files. Verify the Data tab contains the counters you wish to view (should be automatic based on the data contained in the log file) – floyd Sep 11 '12 at 19:23
@eek142 I assume you've got it setup and floyd's comment is enough to get you into the logged data in whatever format you're most comfortable with. If not, let me know and I can whip something up to point you int he right direction. – HopelessN00b Sep 11 '12 at 19:50
Yeah, I've got it down, I think. I basically opened performance monitor, added the counters I needed, and let it log. Then I stopped it and checked the individual process usage in the graph of the logs for the time that I spotted the problem today. Thanks again. – eek142 Sep 12 '12 at 21:32

You could use the Microsoft ProcDump utility of the SysInternals troubleshooting suite to see what's causing those spikes

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That probably won't be helpful for finding the cause of short, random spikes in CPU utilization, since it has to be run during the spike to be useful. – HopelessN00b Sep 11 '12 at 17:13

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