Fix High CPU Usage and Troubleshoot CPU Utilization

In this article, I will share effective techniques to fix high CPU usage and guide you through troubleshooting CPU utilization.

Identify the culprit: Use task manager or performance monitoring tools to determine which process or application is causing high CPU utilization. This will help you focus your efforts on resolving the specific issue.

Understanding CPU usage

Computer screen showing CPU usage statistics.

CPU usage refers to the amount of processing power being utilized by the central processing unit of your computer. High CPU usage can cause your computer to slow down or become unresponsive. Troubleshooting and fixing high CPU usage is essential to ensure optimal computer performance.

To begin troubleshooting CPU utilization, open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. The Task Manager provides detailed information about the processes and programs running on your computer. Look for processes or programs that are using a significant amount of CPU resources. You can sort the processes by CPU usage by clicking on the “CPU” column.

If you identify a process or program that is causing high CPU usage, you can try closing it by right-clicking on the process and selecting “End Task” from the context menu. This will terminate the process and free up CPU resources.

If you are experiencing high CPU usage consistently, it may be due to a software bug or a background process that is consuming excessive resources. In this case, you can try updating your software to the latest version or running a full system scan with your antivirus software to check for any malware or viruses.

Another factor that can contribute to high CPU usage is having too many programs running simultaneously. Consider closing unnecessary programs or disabling startup programs to reduce CPU usage.

Additionally, if you are using resource-intensive applications such as video editing software or playing graphics-intensive games, it is normal to have high CPU usage. However, if you notice a significant decrease in performance, you may want to consider upgrading your hardware, such as getting a faster processor or more RAM.

A high CPU utilization is like a traffic jam – it slows down the entire system and causes delays in processing tasks.

Checking CPU usage

Computer screen with a CPU usage graph

1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
2. In the Task Manager window, click on the Performance tab.
3. Under the CPU section, you’ll see the CPU usage percentage for each core of your processor. If you have a multi-core processor, you’ll see a graph with individual cores listed as well.
4. To identify which processes are using the most CPU resources, go to the Processes tab.
5. You can sort the processes by CPU usage by clicking on the CPU column header. This will show you the processes that are consuming the most CPU power.
6. If you notice any processes with unusually high CPU usage, you may consider closing or uninstalling the associated application to reduce CPU usage.

Addressing high CPU usage

To fix high CPU usage and troubleshoot CPU utilization, follow these steps:

1. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc or right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting “Task Manager” from the context menu.

2. In Task Manager, go to the Processes tab to see which programs or processes are using the most CPU resources. You can click on the CPU column to sort the processes by CPU usage.

3. Identify any processes that are using a significant amount of CPU resources. If it’s a program that you’re not actively using, you can right-click on it and select End Task to stop it.

4. If you notice that a particular program consistently causes high CPU usage, it may have a software bug. Check for updates or consider uninstalling and reinstalling the program to see if that resolves the issue.

5. Antivirus software scans can also consume a lot of CPU resources. If you’re running a scan and experiencing high CPU usage, consider scheduling the scan to run during idle times or adjusting the scan settings to be less CPU-intensive.

6. If you have multiple programs running simultaneously, your CPU may struggle to handle the workload. Consider closing unnecessary programs or using computer multitasking features to manage your tasks more efficiently.

7. Restarting your computer can also help alleviate high CPU usage, as it clears out any lingering processes or tasks that may be causing the issue.

import psutil

def monitor_cpu_utilization(threshold):
while True:
cpu_percent = psutil.cpu_percent(interval=1)
print(f"Current CPU utilization: {cpu_percent}%")

if cpu_percent > threshold:
# Perform actions based on high utilization
# e.g., log the event, send notifications, adjust resource allocation, etc.

monitor_cpu_utilization(80) # Monitor CPU utilization with a threshold of 80%

Restarting your computer

To restart your computer, follow these steps:

1. Save any unsaved work and close all programs.
2. Click on the Start button located at the bottom left corner of your screen.
3. From the Start menu, click on the Power button.
4. Select Restart from the drop-down menu.
5. Wait for your computer to shut down and reboot.

Once your computer has restarted, check if the high CPU usage issue has been resolved. If not, you may need to further troubleshoot the problem by identifying and closing any resource-intensive programs or processes using the Task Manager.

To open the Task Manager, press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously. In the Task Manager window, go to the Processes tab and look for any processes with high CPU usage. Right-click on these processes and select End Task to close them.

Restarting your computer is a quick and easy step that can often resolve high CPU usage issues. If the problem persists, you may need to consider other troubleshooting methods or seek further assistance.

Managing open processes

Task manager icon

Process Name PID CPU Usage Status
Chrome 1234 50% Running
Discord 5678 30% Running
Spotify 9012 10% Running
System Idle Process 9999 5% Running
Task Manager 2468 1% Running

Scanning for viruses and malware

1. Open your antivirus software or Windows Security by clicking on the shield icon in the taskbar.

2. Select the “Scan” option to initiate a full system scan. This will search for any viruses, malware, or other malicious programs that may be causing high CPU usage.

3. Follow the prompts to complete the scan. It may take some time depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of files on your computer.

4. Once the scan is complete, your antivirus software will provide a report of any threats found. Take appropriate action to remove or quarantine any malicious files detected.

5. Additionally, you can use the built-in Windows Defender Antivirus in Windows 10. Open the Start menu, type “Windows Security,” and select the app. Click on “Virus & threat protection” and then “Quick scan” to scan your computer for viruses.

By regularly scanning your computer for viruses and malware, you can prevent high CPU usage and ensure optimal performance.

Updating drivers and software

First, open the Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting Device Manager. In the Device Manager, expand the categories and locate the devices that need driver updates. Right-click on each device and select Update driver. Choose the option to search automatically for updated driver software and let Windows find and install the latest drivers for your devices.

Next, check for software updates. Open the Microsoft Store and click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner. Select Downloads and updates and click on Get updates to install any available updates for your installed apps.

In addition to updating drivers and software, consider optimizing your PC’s performance by disabling unnecessary startup programs and background processes. Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc and navigate to the Startup and Processes tabs. Disable any programs or processes that are not essential for your daily use.

Finally, restart your PC to apply the changes and check if the high CPU usage issue has been resolved. If the problem persists, you may need to seek further assistance or consider performing a clean boot to identify any conflicting software or drivers.

By keeping your drivers and software up to date and optimizing your PC’s performance, you can effectively fix high CPU usage and troubleshoot CPU utilization issues.

Checking power settings

To troubleshoot high CPU usage and CPU utilization, it is important to check your power settings. Adjusting these settings can help optimize your computer’s performance and reduce unnecessary strain on your CPU.

1. Open the Control Panel by typing “Control Panel” in the search bar and selecting it from the search results.
2. In the Control Panel, click on “Power Options.”
3. Here, you will see different power plans available. Select the one that is currently active (usually “Balanced” or “High Performance”).
4. Click on “Change plan settings” next to the selected power plan.
5. On the next screen, click on “Change advanced power settings.”
6. A new window will open with advanced power options. Look for the “Processor power management” section and expand it.
7. Under “Minimum processor state,” make sure the value is set to “5%.” This ensures that your CPU is not running at full power when it is not necessary.
8. Under “Maximum processor state,” set the value to “100%.” This allows your CPU to run at its maximum capacity when needed.
9. Click “Apply” and then “OK” to save the changes.

By checking and adjusting your power settings, you can optimize your CPU’s performance and reduce high CPU usage. This can help improve overall computer performance and prevent overheating.

Maintaining a clean machine

  • Optimize your software: Regularly update your operating system and applications to ensure they are running efficiently and free from bugs or vulnerabilities.
  • Scan for malware: Use a reliable antivirus program to scan your computer for any malicious software that may be causing high CPU usage.
  • Clean up your hard drive: Remove unnecessary files, temporary data, and old programs to free up disk space and improve system performance.
  • Manage startup programs: Disable any unnecessary programs that launch at startup, as they can consume valuable CPU resources.
  • Monitor resource-intensive applications: Identify and close applications or processes that are using excessive CPU power, especially if they are not essential to your tasks.
  • Perform a disk cleanup: Use the built-in Disk Cleanup tool to remove unnecessary system files and optimize your disk space.
  • Check for driver updates: Ensure that your device drivers are up to date as outdated or faulty drivers can cause high CPU usage.
  • Adjust power settings: Optimize your power plan settings to strike a balance between performance and energy efficiency.
  • Disable unnecessary visual effects: Turning off fancy visual effects can reduce the strain on your CPU and improve overall system responsiveness.
  • Upgrade hardware if necessary: If your CPU usage remains consistently high despite optimization efforts, consider upgrading your hardware to meet the demands of modern software.
Was this article helpful?