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Friday, September 29, 2023

How Fix 100% CPU usage on Windows

If your computer’s cooling fan often runs at high speed, your CPU is overloaded. This means your computer will slow down. It’s really annoying if you don’t fix it.

CPU (short for Central Processing Unit) is known as the processor, the key brain unit of the computer. Just like our brain, when it has to process too much information or perform a heavy task, it will become overloaded. Similarly, if you have to perform different tasks when overloaded, the processor will also slow down when it has to respond to many tasks at the same time.

Usually, you can avoid this by interrupting some active applications. But CPU capacity can get out of control by the chaos of some processes like WmiPrvSE.exe. However, there is an easy fix for the high CPU consumption error.


To check if it is the cause, open Task Manager and search for the WmiPrvSE.exe handler. If you see CPU capacity higher than a few percent, and cannot run any programs related to the function of this process, then this is the cause.

Task Manager window

Microsoft once released an official fix that can prevent this problem quite effectively. However, sometimes this solution can’t fix it completely, you can’t download it, then try restarting the process manually. Use the built-in search engine on the Windows Start button and then search with the keyword Services. In the window that appears find Windows Management Instrumentation and right-click it and then press Restart. You can stop all this process if you want.

Cài đặt Services

In a worse case, your computer may be infected with a virus, you will see 2 WmiPrvSE.exe processes running. Now you need to use an anti-virus program to kill the culprit.

System Idle Process

Windows users frequently see high CPU consumption through System Idle Process. This process seems to show all CPU power.

System Idle Process program

System Idle Process is the process that indicates the processor is idle. This process is used by the very complex nature of coding for the processor to run some operations instead of not running to make it more efficient and compatible. But this is not a Windows process, so if you see it appearing in the Task Manager and think it is taking up computer resources and slowing down the computer.

If your computer is normal, you will see that this process takes up about 95% of the CPU when the computer is in idle mode. If not, it means that there is a program that is taking up resources and making your computer slow.

Many processes are running in the background

A background process is a program that is running on your computer even though you do not open its window. Computers will usually have several running in the background at the same time to operate the processor. However, the cause of the problem is that users often install additional programs on their computers over the years.

You can check the processes by disabling this background running in Task Manager from Windows Search or taskmgr.exe. By default, the Processes tab will display all processes running in the background. To avoid confusion, you should turn off all other programs before doing this. Note that these typically only take up 10% of the processor.

In Windows 10, open Startup in Task Manager.

Programs running in the background

For Windows 7, exit Task Manager and open msconfig.exe via the Windows Search or Run box. In the System Configuration window, open the Startup tab.

Now uncheck the unnecessary programs and click OK, then restart the computer. This will prevent these programs from starting.

Antivirus program

When scanning hard drives, antivirus programs can consume large amounts of processor space. This does not affect newer computers or high-end laptops, but it will be overwhelming for older devices.

Antivirus program

Fixing this error is quite easy. Almost all antivirus applications have a function that allows users to schedule automatic scans. So you just need to adjust the scan time of these programs to the time when the machine is not in use and you will no longer be bothered.

Or perhaps a virus

On the other hand, malware can also be the cause of this phenomenon. An infected program may run in the background or may attempt to spread by sending malicious software to others via email, the network, or other sources. They all need handlers that reduce their power.

However, determining whether your computer has a virus or not is often not an easy task and sometimes we have to rely on…feeling. If your computer doesn’t have any antivirus software installed, try downloading one of the highly rated free antivirus programs like Avast! Free Antivirus, AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials 2014… conduct a full system scan.

With luck, the virus will be removed, your computer will return to normal. And if CPU overload and slow machine still occur, you should consider reinstalling Windows.

Svchost.exe (netscvs)

When checking the Task Manager, you should also pay attention to Svchost.exe (netscvs), which is also one of the processes that can be the cause of high memory consumption and CPU overload. They are legally associated with malware; it is a critical Windows system process. When unsure if it is working properly, use the Lookup Tool. If it’s not associated with malware, it’s busy scanning for plug-and-play devices.

To rule this out, go to Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center and click Change advanced sharing settings. Then, select Turn off network discovery.

Change sharing preferences

Svchost.exe also shows increased activity while Windows is downloading updates. Usually you will find it using 25% or more CPU capacity after you install Windows. In that case, just let Windows Update do the work.

In Windows 10, you cannot delay or pause Windows Update easily. You can only schedule the installation of new updates if needed. This inadvertently causes svchost.exe to take up CPU memory. What you can change, however, is whether your computer shares downloaded updates with other devices. So disable this feature to save bandwidth and processing power.

Go to Settings > Update & security > Update, check Advanced options, and then press Choose how updates are delivered, and enable Off or limit PCs in the same network.

Selection of Windows Updates

Another workaround to fix this issue that is related to downloading those updates is to temporarily disable Windows Update. This will prevent Windows from downloading updates. However, we do not recommend this solution.

The power supply is faulty

This is an issue that can affect both Windows 10 desktop and laptop users. If the power supply fails (power cable on a laptop, PSU on a desktop), it can start an undervolt CPU to maintain power. When underperforming, the CPU can only operate at a fraction of its full capacity, manifesting as 100% CPU usage on Windows 10.

Faulty power supply can cause CPU overload error
Faulty power supply can cause CPU overload error

To solve this problem on a laptop, it is quite simple: Unplug the laptop from the power cable, then click the battery icon in the bottom right corner of the Windows 10 desktop, click Battery Settings > Power & Sleep Settings > Additional power settings, and select High Performance. If the problem is with power, then CPU usage should return to normal in Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).

On a desktop, things can get a little more complicated, as you’ll need to remove the PSU from your PC and test another PSU. You should check out the other tips listed in the post before trying this.

Superfetch is a process where Windows 10 learns which apps you use most often and then prefetches them for you so they load faster each time you use them. This is a constant background process that usually doesn’t cause problems, but it doesn’t always work well with older devices.

To find out if Superfetch (or another service) is hogging your CPU, open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Escape), click More details, then select CPU to sort processes by amount CPU they are using.

If you see a “Service Host” like Superfetch or something else that is using a lot of CPU, you can try right-clicking it and selecting End process.

Disable Superfetch
Disable Superfetch

Alternatively, you can press Win + R, type services, and then scroll down to Superfetch in the Services box to permanently stop it (or until Windows turns it back on, which can happen after you update your operating system).

Right-click Superfetch, select Properties, then in the Properties window, click the drop-down menu next to Startup type, select Disabled > OK.

Permanently disable superfetch
Permanently disable superfetch

Refer to other ways in the article: How to enable and disable SuperFetch on Windows 10/8/7.

Technically, you can do this for any service that is hogging the CPU, but some services are very important to the system, so you need to be careful. Another culprit of high CPU usage is Windows Search, which you can also safely disable.

Power plan is not suitable

Cycling in Windows power options can significantly affect PC performance. If you have it set to “High performance“, especially if you’ve changed the “plan settings,” you’re probably overloading your CPU (again, older devices are more prone to this problem).

Power plan được đặt thành “Power plan set to
Power plan set to “High performance” may overload CPU

Type power plan into the Start search bar, then click Choose a power plan. If you are using High performance or Power Saver then switch to Balanced.

To be sure, click Change plan settings, and then on the new screen, click Restore default settings for this plan.

CPU overload is a global problem

It’s hard to monitor an overloaded CPU. While the issues listed here are among the most common, CPU usage can still be an issue even if you try everything suggested above.

Also, you can see how to fix this error with TiWorker.exe on Windows 10/8.1/8.

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