How does a typical microprocessor for a personal computer work? When you boot up the PC, the CPU picks up an instructions from a particular place in the memory and starts executing them sequentially. There is sequence of instructions/steps undertaken by CPU and finally it brings up your OS. When you finally have your OS up there and you run a top (Unix command) or task manager, you see CPU 2% or may be x% utilized. So does that mean that your CPU is sleeping for 98% of time? Is it that for 98% of time there is nothing for CPU to execute and it’s sitting idle? In reality, CPU never sleeps. This means that CPU is 100% utilized all the time. It’s just that CPU is executing dummy instruction (NOP) for 98% of time and doing something useful only 2% of its time. If you launch some more programs, perhaps some more useful tasks will get executed on this CPU and utilization will be getting higher.