How to fix 100% Disk Usage in Windows 10

One of the toughest issues to resolve with Windows 10/8.1/8/7 is when you see a 100% Disk Usage message and your PC suddenly stops responding or responds slowly. While it could have many reasons, it’s usually caused when the Disk Usage is at 100% in the Task Manager.

100% Disk Usage in Task Manager

100% Disk Usage

Is the problem a known bug in Windows 10? We cannot be sure of the exact reason behind it. Why didn’t the same problem occur on the computers when folks were running on Windows 7? The problem is reported by some only after upgrading to Windows 10.

In this guide, we have covered a step by step procedure to troubleshoot the mentioned issue after studying and implementing methods discussed by others as well as our own experimentation. Many forums mention methods like disabling the Superfetch, Prefetch and the BITS services as well, but we would not recommend the same. I mean what and how much can you really disable to fix an issue!

If you are facing such an issue, here are a few troubleshooting steps that may help you resolve the issue. Create a system restore point first and then go through the entire list and decide which one or more of the suggestions you want to try.

1] Using the Control Panel, uninstall all browsers – except Edge and Internet Explorer of course. This is to isolate the issue with the plugins. The other suggestion is to remove the plugins one by one from each browser and test. Adobe Flash and Shockwave Player are the usual culprits. But knowing the fact that the browsers could be re-installed in seconds, this option seems to be easier. After uninstalling the browsers, please delete the ‘Temp’, ‘%Temp%’ and ‘Prefetch’ files. Restart the system and check if it solves the issue. If it does, wait for 10-15 minutes to verify that it doesn’t reoccur. Then re-install the browsers.

2] Run ChkDsk and see if that helps. Open an elevated CMD windows, type the following command and hit Enter:

chkdsk.exe /f /r

The ChkDsk parameters do the following work:

  • /f  Fixes errors detected.
  • /r  Identifies Bad Sectors and attempts recovery of information.

3] Open Windows Defender and disable Cloud-based protection and see.

4] The Windows Search Indexer is one process which is known to cause this. If you do not use Windows Search, you can disable Windows Seach Indexer.

5] If this doesn’t fix the issue, Run services.msc and disable the ‘Print Spooler’. Your printer will stop working after this. But at least it helps isolate the issue. Disabling the Print Spooler service has worked for many users.

Once Services manager is opened, scroll down to ‘Print Spooler’ and click on the option to stop the service. If it works, you could decide if your work actually needs a printer. If you need the service, a technician level repair would be needed.

6] Adjust the Visual Effects in Windows. This post will show you how to tweak Visual Effects to optimize Windows performance.

7] Sometimes Device Drivers can be the culprit. So update your Drivers and see if that helps. You could use Windows Update, download it from the manufacturer’s website or use a free Driver Update software.

8] Run System File Checker as well as DISM to repair te system image.

9] Open an elevated Command Prompt, type the following and hit Enter to run the Performance Troubleshooter.

msdt.exe /id PerformanceDiagnostic

This troubleshooter helps the user adjust settings to improve operating system speed and performance. Here are more suggestions that can help you troubleshoot Performance issues.

10] You may want to check if you need to upgrade your firmware or upgrade your RAM.

11] The final option if nothing works would be to use the Refresh Windows Tool to reset Windows 10 and see if that finally helps.

12] In a special scenario, if your Task Manager shows 100% disk utilization on Windows 10 devices with Message Signaled Interrupt (MSI) mode enabled, see this support article.

If you have any ideas that may help resolve this issue, please post in the Comments. Your suggestions may help others facing this problem.

Posts about processes using high resources:

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.