How to fix 100% Disk, High CPU, High Memory 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. This post also helps you face constant high CPU or high Memory usage issues.

100% Disk, High CPU, High Memory usage in Task Manager

100% Disk Usage

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] 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.

13] Process Tamer is a tiny utility that runs in your system tray and constantly monitors the CPU usage of other processes. When it sees a process overloading your CPU, it reduces the priority of that process temporarily, until its CPU usage returns to a reasonable level.

14] 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.

15] Pijal recommends in the comments below. Go to Device Manager > Disk drives. Right-click on your HDD/SSD to shown Properties > Policies. Select “Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device” and click OK. See if this helps some of you.

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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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
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.

10 Comments

  1. NahNood

    So this issue is some kind of 100% disk *access* usage as shown in task manager, not 100% disk space used up? Maybe then it’s a bugged disk or controller driver of whatever chipset stuff installed not from MS.

  2. pijal

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

    i suggest you only one step to resolve these issue without lose every feature you may need. recommend for laptop and or PC that have UPS only.
    – you should goto Device Manager>Disk drives: Right click on your HDD/SSD to shown Properties>Policies: make check on “Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device” and click OK

  3. Correct, not a disk space issue.

  4. Leonardo Habitzreuter

    It dosen’t worked for me

  5. Krista

    This happens on every single Win 10 system I have, including a very powerful gaming system. Microsoft needs to get their butt in gear and fix this issue on their end.

  6. Joseph McCain

    just for grins… disconnect/disable any/all network devices… give it a few as connections timeout, open a command prompt (may have to use elevated privelage) type netstat -an

  7. GoneFishing

    Apparently, the Performance Troubleshooter does not work with every version of Windows 10. My version is Windows 10 Home Version 1703 (OS Build 15063.674). It quits with the following message:
    “Sorry, this troubleshooter doesn’t work with this version of Windows”
    “We disabled this troubleshooter because it won’t work on this PC”

  8. Thank you so much. I tried every other solution to no avail. This worked instantly!

  9. Yayman12312

    Actually, you can have whatever ultrapowerful CPU and GPU combo in the world. It won’t fix your obvious slow hard drive bottleneck. System will only go as fast as its weakest link depending on the workload. Get an SSD and you’ll (almost certainly) never have to worry about this ever again…

  10. Yes you can use Disk Cleanup tool to clean them all.

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