A letter-writer wants to know why his tablet is running so slowly and what’s eating up all of his CPU’s processing power.

Q: I want to thank you for all the work you do helping people with their problems.


My tablet runs slow. Rebooting helps for a little while, but does not last. When I check the task manager it shows the task manager using over 40% of the PC. Is this correct?


– Dale A., Forest Lake, Minnesota


A: Well, thank-you for the kind words, Dale. Aside from basking in your appreciation, I’m glad you mentioned that because it gives me the perfect opportunity to say that the reach of my help to people may soon be expanding. I’m currently working with the content director of a Gannett publication named ION to get some of my writing into their rotation. ION is a monthly publication that gets inserted into multiple Gannett-operated printed newspapers, including this column’s hometown paper, the Northwest Florida Daily News. It’s Geek To Me will continue on as it has for the last 12 years, as a weekly publication in various regional newspapers. Anything that publishes in ION will be additional content, but will also appear on my website. If you receive ION, watch for my first entry in the upcoming April edition.


Now then, I’ve mystically divined from your question that your tablet must be a Windows machine of some sort. Also, my Geek Powers of Interpretation have revealed to me that when you said “40% of the PC” what you meant was 40% CPU utilization. Honestly, I don’t think the whole issue of Task Manager using a high amount of resources is related to your hardware being a tablet. This can happen regardless of whether you are running a tablet, laptop, or full-size desktop system.


There are a few things that I’d like you to consider about this problem. First of all, the specs you provided for your tablet are pretty low for a system running Windows 10. It’s probably the bare minimum required to run just the operating system, which doesn’t leave much room for applications to run on top of it. The point is, it will probably work, but you will experience poor system performance. Second, the CPU usage is given not as a fixed quantity, but as a percentage of what’s available. So, you can decide for yourself whether using 40% of an underpowered CPU is actually a problem worth addressing. Perhaps under the exact circumstances, but with a higher-powered CPU, the relative percentage used would be far lower. Finally, bear in mind that Task Manager only runs when you intentionally call it up. So, the old joke applies here – the one about the doctor telling the patient “If it hurts when you do that, then don’t do that!” If Task Manager is using a lot of resources, then avoid launching it. It’s a diagnostic tool that’s not required for normal operation of your computer.


Having said all of that, 40% CPU usage does sound a little high if this is the sustained percentage over time, and not just a spike when it launches. This could be caused by any number of anomalies on the system that would require a technician to do some hands-on work to find. About the only simple thing I can think of to check is your system’s Power Plan. That may sound like an odd place to look for a solution to a Task Manager issue, but incorrect settings in this area can cause the CPU to throttle-back, meaning the percentage in-use will rise. I recommend selecting the “Balanced” power plan, which “Automatically balances performance with energy consumption” according to the Windows dialog. Implement this by clicking the Start button, then Settings (the Gear icon). In the search box type Power Plan, and select “Choose Power Plan” from the list of choices. Make sure “Balanced” is selected, and click “Change plan settings.” Ignore all the actual settings, and just click “Restore default settings for this plan” then click “Save changes.” If your seemingly high-usage was power plan-related, that will fix the issue. Good luck!


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