While Windows 11 has arrived with a beautiful new interface and some great add-ons, the disk usage spike issue is still there. There have been numerous reports by Windows 11 users complaining about the sudden spike in disk usage, even when the computer is in idle mode. High disk usage slows down the performance of your machine and sometimes may also freeze it.
Fix Random Disk Usage Spikes in Windows 11/10
Try the following suggestions to fix Random Disk Usage Spike issue in Windows 11/10 computers:
- Upgrade to the latest Windows version or build
- Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State to check interference of 3rd party process
- Run Disk Check utility
- Optimize Drives
- Check HDD Health
- Update the PC and install optional & device driver updates too
- Run SFC & DISM
- Troubleshoot using Process Tamer
- Examine System Health Report
- Other suggestions
1] Upgrade to the latest Windows version or build
First and foremost, check the version of Windows you are using. It is highly recommended to upgrade your PC to the latest available version of Windows. This will most probably solve your issue of high disk usage. If you are using the latest version and still getting high disk usage, try the next method.
Read: Beginners tips to optimize Windows for better performance.
2] Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State to check interference of 3rd party process
We normally don’t notice but there are many unimportant services that keep running in the background and contribute to disk usage spikes. If you are seeing a sudden spike in disk usage, try troubleshooting in Clean Boot. Clean boot technically means starting the PC with only the most essential files and services.
To perform the Clean Boot-
- Press Win+R to open the dialogue box and type MSConfig.
- Go to the Services tab and check the box, ‘Hide all Microsoft Services’
- Disable all and restart your PC.
- Check if the disk usage is now any lesser.
Once in Clean Boot State, you need to check for the interference of 3rd party process. When a computer is dealing with any kind of interference from a 3rd party application or process, the CPU usage increases because it takes over the available system resource.
3] Run Disk Check utility
Perform a disk check. This normally helps fix the temporary bugs.
To do so-
- Go to Start and search for Command Prompt.
- Click on Run as administrator.
- Now type
chkdsk.exe /f /r
- The system will not perform the check right away because the volume is in use by another process.
- Type Y to schedule the check for the next time your PC restarts.
- Restart your PC and check the disk usage.
4] Optimize Drives
If you have set your HDD to auto-drive optimization, you may experience this sudden spike in disk usage because the file system on the disk partition gets a little disorganized when more files are added to it. To fix this, defragment the main drive of your PC which has the operating system.
- To optimize the drive which is causing the spike in disk usage-
- Run dialog box and type ‘dfrgui.exe’. Press Enter and it opens up the Optimize drives utility.
- Select your HDD operating system drive, then click the Optimize button.
- It may take a few minutes to complete the operation, wait for it to complete, and don’t force stop it.
You can also disable defragmentation for SSD if you wish.
Read: How to increase Hard Drive speed & improve performance in Windows.
5] Check HDD Health
If your HDD is degrading or failing, the disk usage may rise to 100% even when your computer is idle. It is very important to keep a check on your HDD health parameters if you are seeing this sudden spike. There are many such tools available on the internet, like say, GSmartControl.
While it is always a good idea to regularly check your Hard Disk Health for Errors & Bad Sectors, it is equally important to monitor the Hard Disk regularly if you don’t want to be caught unawares by a hard disk failure for no apparent reason. Hard Disks these days use Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology or SMART to monitor its health and send out signals if it is failing.
6] Update the PC and install optional & device driver updates too
Reportedly some of the insider builds of Windows 11 are facing a weird glitch where Windows Security suddenly increases the disk usage to 100%. This actually happens when Windows Security tries to download a new virus definition.
To get rid of this glitch you can simply disable both Windows Firewall and Windows Defender, trigger a restart and then enable them back.
Sometimes an outdated or a faulty device driver also causes a sudden spike in disk usage. So make sure that you also install Optional & Driver Updates that may be offered to your system.
7] Run SFC & DISM
8] Troubleshoot using Process Tamer
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.
Read: How to fix Windows Performance issues?
9] Examine System Health Report
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 resource utilization by processes and in generating a System Health Report of your Windows.
Read: How to Tune-up Windows.
10] Other suggestions
Apart from the above generic suggestions, here are some that apply to the following processes. You may want to check if they apply in your case.
- Windows Security glitch
- Windows Search Indexing Service
- Link power management feature.
When the CompatTelRunner.exe hogs the storage capacity, it may result in a spike in your disk usage. This happens when you install Windows 11 on a unit that barely meets the minimum CPU requirement. You can fix this issue simply by disabling the usage of the CompatTelRunner.exe process using the Registry Editor or Task Scheduler.
Run dialog box (Win+R) and type ‘taskschd.msc’. Press Enter to open up the Task Scheduler.
Once opened, go to the following location-
Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Application Experience
Go to the right-hand panel, right-click and choose disable from the context menu to disable the tasks systematically.
MsMpEng.exe is the core process of Windows Defender. It scans all the downloaded files on your PC for spyware. It removes suspicious files and also prevents various spyware infections on your PC. While scanning, the disk usage may spike but that’s temporary. Again, to get rid of this glitch, go to Windows Defender and switch off the Real-Time Protection feature and check if that helps. You can turn it on back then.
Windows Search Indexing service
Try troubleshooting the Indexing service on your PC. A rise in disk usage even when the computer is idle can be due to some glitch with the Indexing service. Just pause the Indexing Options and see if it helps.
Sometimes the disk usage also increases when you are using the Windows Search option. This is reported in some Windows 11 insider builds. It can also happen when your OS is using the Search component in the background. See if your operating system is updated or not. Updating to the latest Windows 11 build may solve this problem or you can also disable the Windows Search Indexing options.
Link Power Management feature
Disable this Link Power Management feature from the Power Options menu on your PC and see if that helps. This feature is still unreliable on the latest versions of Windows, particularly with the Ultrabook and laptops that come with Intel’s Rapid Storage technology.
These are some of the known causes and fixes to get rid of the 100% disk usage error. If you know any more of them, please do post in the comments and we would love to include them in the list.
TIP: This post will show you how to fix 100% Disk, High CPU, High Memory usage in Windows 11/10.
Why does my disk space keep spiking?
There are many possible causes mentioned above in the post, but it can also happen when the antivirus software on your PC malfunctions or gets stuck. Stop the scan process and see if it helps.
Read: How to improve Windows 11 performance.
Does 100% disk usage affect gaming?
Yes using HDD may affect the loading time of the game as well as the performance is your game is accessing the content from the storage regularly. You can use these tips to improve gaming performance in Windows.