Windows 11 CPU usage reporting is apparently buggy, including on Task Manager

Windows 11 logo with a bug

While not every user is actively monitoring hardware resource usage when gaming, enthusiasts and reviewers often turn the stats on to see how certain games and other applications are being handled by the hardware.

During such a test run, CapFrameX, which developed a useful frametime analysis tool, noticed a weird anomaly when gauging the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D on Lara Croft Shadow of the Tomb Raider (SotTR).

The processor usage reported on Windows 11 is seemingly unusually low in one of the scenes in the game which is typically known to be quite intense on the CPU. Only one out the 16 threads seem to be reporting the correct usage whereas all the other threads are under 10% utilization.

CapFrameX notes the issue though it isn't sure what could be causing it:

The core usage reporting on Window 11 is completely broken. Should be >80% for SotTR + this particular scene and settings.

What happened? Did the recent update change the timer behavior?

Here is a screenshot of the scene in question. The stats are shown on screen using CapFrameX's own tool and attached alongside is a snapshot of HWiNFO which shows similar data.

Low CPU usage bug on Windows 11 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

While it is possible that the bug noticed here is an application specific issue, CapFrameX insists it is persistent in all games tested:

It is noteworthy here that CapFrameX and possibly HWiNFO too is based on the Event tracing for Windows (ETW) tracing mechanism. So it is possible that there is some kind of bug in the ETW which is causing this misreading.

A quick search on Google led us to a thread on the Microsoft forum where a user "AndreasRes" reported about an issue that is somewhat similar. In this case, it is noticed that Task Manager usage is very high or at a 100% whereas Xbox Game Bar and the MSI Dragon Centre are showing far lower usages.

CPU usage bug Windows 11
Task Manager and Xbox Game Bar CPU usages side by side

While the thread was opened last year, more users have chimed in recently in 2022 as well.

Source and images: CapFrameX (Twitter) via AndreasRes (Microsoft forum)


Update: We earlier reached out to CapFrameX inquiring about the Windows 11 Build that exhibited the low CPU usage report. We have received the following response which confirms the recent Windows 11 Beta Channel build 22621 was used for the test:

Windows 11 build which exhibited low CPU usage error

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