Is the Windows 11 Task Manager buggy?

CPU on Fire

Oh-oh! Looks like the CPU usage reporting in Windows 11 is buggy. Multiple reports claim that the OS wrongly reports the processor usage on a system when doing intensive tasks.

And to make matters worse, this is happening as Microsoft is refreshing the native Task Manager.

The Task Manager is one of the most vital components of the operating system, which is why the company never really went for fancy redesigns for it — the clearest case of not fixing something when it is not broke.

But apparently, it is broke.

While not every user is actively monitoring the resource usage on their system, enthusiasts like gamers and power users often turn to these statistics to find out exactly how their hardware is handling games and other such complex applications.

One such test was run by CapFrameX, developer of a useful frame analysist tool, who noticed an odd anomaly when gauging the performance of the Lara Croft game Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

HWiNFO Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The processor usage that Windows 11 reports in this title is unusually low in one of the scenes where the game is typically known to be very intense on CPU. Weirdly, only about 1 of the 16 threads reported the correct performance, while all other threads on the processor were under 10% utilization.

And while this can possibly be chalked as an application specific issue, it is apparently present in all games that were tested.

Additionally, to add to the curiosity, this thread on the Microsoft forums has user “AndreasRes” talking about a similar issue where the Task Manager usage is either very high or at a 100%, when other tools like the Xbox Game Bar and the MSI Dragon Center are showing far lower usages.

Task Manager vs Xbox Game Bar

Worth a mention here that both CapFrameX and possibly HWiNFO are based on the Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) tracing mechanism.

Perhaps there is some kind of a bug in ETW that is behind all this misreading?

Who knows?