How to Fix High CPU Usage on Windows. High CPU usage can be indicative of several different problems. If a program is eating up your entire processor, there’s a good chance that it’s not behaving properly. A maxed-out CPU is also a sign of a virus or adware infection, which should be addressed immediately. It could also simply mean that your computer can’t keep up with what you want to do, and an upgrade may be in order.
How to Fix High CPU Usage on Windows Overview
CPU usage has two main uses. The first use is to quantify the overall busyness of the system. When the CPU usage is above 70%, the user may experience lag. Such high CPU usage indicates insufficient processing power. Either the CPU needs to be upgraded, or the user experience reduced.
The second use, with the advent of multi-tasking, is to quantify how the processor is shared between computer programs. High CPU usage by a single program may indicate that it is highly demanding of processing power or that it may malfunction.
Step 1: Open the Task Manager
Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager. This is a utility that monitors and reports on all of the processes and programs currently running on your computer.
Step 2: Click the Processes Tab
This will display all of the processes currently running on your computer.
Step 3: Click the CPU Coloum
This will sort the processes based on their current CPU usage.
Step 4: Find the High Usage Process
Usually, there will be only one that is nearly maxed out at 99-100%, though you may have a couple of different programs taking up 50% each. Many games and media editing programs will take 100% of your CPU while running.
Step 5: Note the Image Name
This will allow you to look them up later to determine how to keep the high usage from happening. In Windows 8, you will be able to see the full program name instead of the process’s system name. This will make determining what it is much easier.
Step 5: Select the offending program and click
You will be asked to confirm that you want to force the process to quit.
- In Windows 8, the button is End task.
- Force-quitting a program will cause any unsaved work in the program to be lost.
- There is no need to force-quit “System Idle Process”. If this is the process of taking up your CPU, it is not actually using it. When System Idle Process is using a lot of CPU, it actually means that your computer has a lot of processing power available.
Step 6: Determine how to proceed with troubleshooting the misbehaving program
Perform an internet search on the image name that you force-quit. There are typically a few different ways that you might combat high CPU usage from a certain program.
- Uninstall – If the program isn’t a necessary one, uninstalling it may be the easiest way to keep it from bogging down your system.
- Reinstall or update – Sometimes a bug in the program is causing it to take up all of your CPU. Reinstalling the program or applying an update from the developer may fix the problems you are experiencing.
- Remove the program from your startup sequence – If the program is causing your computer to boot slowly, but you need it installed, you can prevent it from starting when your computer does.
- Run virus and malware scans – If your research shows that the program is malicious, you may need to remove it using an antivirus or antimalware program. This can be a complicated process and you may not be able to remove the virus without reinstalling Windows.
If you are constantly running into 100% CPU usage, and none of your programs is to blame, you may need to consider upgrading your hardware.