How to read the Processor Usage in Windows Server 2003 Standard Ed.

Posted on 2005-04-07
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
I have a couple of Windows Server 2003 Standard Ed. Servers that are running Citrix that I’m having some problems with. They will lock up occasionally and have to be manually restarted.

What I have a question about however is the Task Manager view of the Processor Usage on the machines.

The machines have dual Xeon processors and show 4 separate graphs for the usage statistics. The odd thing is that only the first graph to the left will show much usage until it maxes out at 100% and then the others will rise and show usage when that happens. If the first graph isn’t at 100% then the others will stay around the 10 to 20% level all the time.

The total percentage meter will not be at 100% when the first graph is, it will only be in the 30 to 40% range when that happens and go up higher as the other graphs show higher usage.

I’m confused as to how to read this. If the first graph hits 100% the users on the servers will start to get pauses and slow downs in the apps that they are using. If the other graphs are representations of the hyper threading and 2nd processor, shouldn’t they get maxed before we start to see pauses and the like.

So overall, my question is how do I read those graphs properly and why does it appear that the server is maxing out at 60 to 70% total processing power and not using the other processor as much.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Ashley Heaton
Question by:nextech01
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Hyperthreaded processors appear as two CPUs to Windows.  One CPU represents the Integer calculations portion of the CPU, one represents the Floating point calculations portion.  So when one is used heavily and the other isn't that means either the integer or floating point part is VERY busy - unfortunately, I cannot help further, but hopefully this helps you understand at least a little better.
    LVL 51

    Accepted Solution

    You'll need to check a registry key to determine and correct Processor Affinity.  It sounds as if the OS is not spreading out the load properly across the 2 CPUs.

    This explains a change that will likely help you out.;en-us;892100

    Author Comment

    I appreciate the help, after checking the reg setting in the tech doc the key has the value specified but after monitoring the server today it still has one CPU pegged but the second barely being used
    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    Can you determine what process is using up the cycles?  I think I heard about a patch for Citrix and this issue.

    Let us know.

    Author Comment

    It looks to be IExplorer and/or Powerpoint

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