Makecab.exe running at startup & consuming high CPU

At times the makecab.exe process causes high CPU usage in a system and slows it down. Users have reported that the Process Monitor shows multiple instances of the makecab.exe process. So, what is the makecab.exe process that is running on Windows?

The makecab.exe program compresses the Component-Based Servicing log files (CBS log files) – and these could be huge! If not compressed, these files would utilize significant system space. Ideally, makecab.exe does not consume high CPU for doing this. However, at times it recreates thousands of instances of itself and thus causes over-utilization of system resources. This slows down the system.

makecab.exe running at Startup & consuming high CPU

The most common reason the makecab.exe process runs abruptly during startup and recreates thousands of instances in case there is a failed Windows Update. Another cause could be a virus or malware modifying the files. The possible causes behind the issue could be a failed system update or virus/malware causing the issue.

Try the following solutions to fix the issue:

  1. Deleting log file using File Explorer
  2. Deleting log file using elevated Command Prompt
  3. Full system anti-virus scan
  4. Uninstall suspicious programs
  5. Disk cleanup
  6. Run SFC scan

1] Delete log file using File Explorer

Interestingly, the CBS log files could be as huge as 20GB and thus deleting these files would save space on the system too. The logs won’t be of much use and deleting them wouldn’t hurt the system for sure.

Open the File Explorer and navigate to the path C:\Windows\Logs\CBS.makecab.exe running at Startup & consuming high CPU

Delete the CBS log file from this folder.

This eases the load in the makecab.exe program since it would have no CBS log files to compress. Thus, the process would be relaxed for the time being.

Restart the system and check if the issue has been fixed.

2] Delete log file using Elevated Command Prompt

Search for Command Prompt in the Windows search bar and right-click on it. Select Run as administrator.

Type the following command and press Enter to execute it:

del /f %windir%\logs\cbs\*.log

Delete CBS logs through Command Prompt
Restart the system once the command has executed.

Most probably this would end the high disk utilization as well. To make sure the cause is also rectified, we could proceed to the following solutions.

2] Full system anti-virus scan

One of the basic causes behind the issue could be malware. Thus, even if you temporarily resolved it, a full system anti-virus scan is recommended. You could use any reputable third-party anti-virus or Windows Defender for the scan.

3] Uninstall suspicious programs

Freeware isn’t always free. Usually, freeware downloads install malware on the system. Some paid software products carry virus and malware to the system as well. Any software downloaded from an unverified publisher could be considered suspicious.

If this is the case with your system, try uninstalling any recently installed freeware or suspicious software.

Press Win + R to open the Run window and type the command appwiz.cpl. Hit Enter to open the Programs and Features window.

Arrange the list of programs in order of the date of installation.Arrange programs in order of their date of installation

Right-click and uninstall any recently installed freeware or suspicious program.

4] Run Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup Utility is helpful in deleting temporary and unnecessary files on the system.

Press Win + R to open the Run window and type the command cleanmgr. Press Enter to open the Disk Cleanup window.

Select the drive and click on OK to clean the disk and restart the system.

5] Run SFC scan

SFC scan

Windows comes with built-in functionality to fix essential system files. The SFC (System File Checker) scan is one of those functionalities which can help you fix and repair any faulty system files on your Windows operating system.

Other than these steps, you need to update Windows regularly to make sure you don’t miss the corrective update.

Can you disable makecab.exe

You cannot & should not disable the makecab.exe process directly because it’s necessary for the system. If you end the task in the Task Manager, the CBS log files will keep growing to their original size until you restart the system.

All the best!

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Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.