Fix: Windows Driver Foundation using high CPU

Windows Driver Foundation is the former name for Windows Driver Framework. It is a set of libraries and tools by Microsoft which helps reduce the complexity while writing Windows drivers. It pushes drivers to user mode. This service is necessary for the overall stability of the system.

At times, users may face issues with the system, where the Windows Driver Foundation occupies a major chunk of the CPU usage. While it does not exactly restrict the functionalities of the CPU for most users, it certainly drains the battery and might cause freezing of the system at times, especially if the usage shoots up to 100%. Attempting to kill the process in the Task Manager doesn’t help because it is a system process.

Windows Driver Foundation using high CPU or Memory

To find if the strain on the CPU usage is because of Windows Driver Foundation or wudfsvc.dll, open the Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar and selecting Task Manager.

Here, check for the process occupying high CPU usage. Is it Windows Driver Foundation? It might be present with the alternative name User-mode Driver Framework (UMDF) or wudfhost.exe.

If it indeed consumes high resources, try some of these troubleshooting suggestions.

1] Run Windows Update

Make sure that your Windows operating system is up to date with the latest patches and fixes.

2] Run Troubleshooters

Run System Maintenance Troubleshooter. To run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter. Open Run, type the following and hit Enter:

msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic

Does it help?

Next, run the System Performance Troubleshooter. To do so, 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.

3] Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State

A Clean Boot will help you troubleshoot the issue. Log on to the system as an administrator. Press Windows + R to open the Run window. Enter the command ‘msconfig’ and press Enter.

Click the General tab, and then click Selective Startup. Clear the Load Startup Items check box, and ensure that Load System Services and Use Original boot configuration are checked.

Now under Services tab, select the option which says ‘Hide all Microsoft services‘ and then click on Disable all.Windows Driver Foundation using high CPU or Memory

Click Apply and restart the system.

The reason for performing a Clean Boot is to isolate any software was causing the issue. If a Clean Boot resolves the high CPU usage issue, then try to find out the exact software which was interfering. You will have to do this manually by enabling/disabling each process or startup.

4] Try removing peripherals from the system 

Remove peripherals from the system one by one and check if it resolves the issue. If it does, that particular peripheral might need to be replaced or maybe its Driver updated.

5] Update and re-install WiFi drivers 

Many users have reported that re-installing the WiFi drivers helped them resolve the issue. The process to update Device Drivers is as follows:

Press Win+X and click on Device Manager to open it. In the list, which is in alphabetical order, find ‘Network Adapters’ and click the forward pointing arrow in front of it.

Find the wireless drivers in the list, right-click on them one by one and update them.Windows Driver Foundation using high CPU

Restart the system and check if the issue is resolved. If not, proceed to re-install the drivers.

Open the Device Manager once again and right-click on the wireless drivers. Then click on ‘Properties’. Open the Drivers tab and click on Uninstall to uninstall the drivers. Keeping the system connected to the Wifi, reboot the system. It should detect the drivers automatically.

6] Suggestions for the Pro’s

The Performance Monitor is a good built-in tool that lets you monitor and study how applications you run affect your computer’s performance, both in real-time and by collecting log data for later analysis. It is quite useful in identifying and troubleshooting high resources utilization by processes and in generating a System Health Report of your Windows. But at times, you may feel the need to use a third-party freeware tool for controlling such processes which may use a high CPU. Process Tamer is a freeware tool that will help you manage high or 100% CPU utilization in Windows.

All the best!

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.