CPU at 100% in Windows 10 and 11: how to fix the problem

When the entire system is slow and awkward in performing any kind of operation, the problem may be due to the anomalous processor occupancy by Windows and running programs. The use of CPU al 100% it is certainly a symptom of a problem, easily recognizable using the Windows Task Manager. If the activity on the CPU And higheven if it is not 100% committed, even in this case there is probably something wrong with the system.

How to Check CPU Usage in Windows

The first tip is to press the key combination CTRL+MAIUSC+ESC then click on More details to understand which ones processes they are making more demands on the processor. In this way you access the Task Manager, a component introduced in 1994, and which still today proves to be nothing short of essential. Alternatively, to start the Task Manager just right-click on the taskbar and choose Activity management (this possibility was reintroduced only in the latest versions of Windows 11).

Again, and alternatively, for open the Task Manager you can press Windows+R then type taskmgr in the Open field and finally press the Enter key.

If the CPU is at 100% (you can immediately check this by looking at the icon that appears in the traybarbottom right, next to the clock) or in any case it is used stably at 70%-100% most of the time, it is very likely that there is a problem.

Access the contents of the tab Details del Task Manager

The board Processes of Windows 10 and Windows 11 collects all the processes that belong to the same application in the same line. However, our advice is to click on the tab Details of the Task Manager (window Activity management), then on the CPU column header. The arrow displayed in the column CPU must point downwards, confirming that the Task Manager shows the processes that require the most processor processing first.

CPU elevata Task Manager Windows

Il System idle process should be as close to 100% CPU occupancy as possible. This is a “virtual” process that indicates how much the CPU is idle. If the percentage is high, it means that the processor is out of power and is not engaged in any activity.

It is important to observe which processes are occupying the CPU at a high rate. Even processes that “take for themselves” the CPU at 25-30% in a stable way for long periods of time could literally sink the computer performance.

One of the most useful tricks to use with the Task Manager is pressing the button CTRL: in this way, it is possible to temporarily “freeze” the contents of the card Details in order to better understand the situation.

Windows system processes with high CPU occupancy

There are many system processes which can use the processor significantly. To some of them, such as svchost (but there are others like it taskhost, taskeng, schtasks), are headed by various services. A good trick to understand what is causing problems is to right-click on the process and then select Go to services from the context menu. If one or more were linked to the selected process servicesthese will be highlighted in the tab Services. This is a very valuable way to understand what is wrong with the system in use and trace the person responsible for the anomalous occupation at CPU level.

Use Process Explorer to understand which software depends on which specific processes

The pro trick to figure out which task is really associated with a system service is to use the Microsoft Process Explorer utility by opening it with administrator rights. Again, you can click on the CPU column header to sort the running processes based on CPU occupancy.

To prevent the contents of the Process Explorer window from constantly updating, preventing you from examining the proposed information, just press the Barra spaziatrice (without holding it down). Pressing the same key again restores normal Process Explorer behavior.

By double clicking on the name of the process marked with a high CPU usageyou can refer to the contents of the cards Image e Services of Process Explorer to trace the cause of the problem.

Be careful about scheduled tasks in Windows

In some cases we found ourselves in difficulty because the two cards cited reported n/a, i.e Not available, corresponding to all fields. In these situations it is usually enough to return to the main Process Explorer screen and then move the mouse pointer for a few moments on the process name. Here you can usually find very useful information.

Sometimes what you see is not a path (most executable directory) but a branch contained in Task Scheduler. The process is therefore directly dependent on a system activity whose execution is programmed through theScheduler of Windows. We then suggest typing Utilità di pianificazione in the Windows search box, double-click Task Scheduler Library then follow the path revealed by Process Explorer (usually the branches of the tree must be followed Microsoft, Windows).

Process Explorer and Windows Task Scheduler

CPU al 100% con Microsoft Defender

If it were Defenderfor long periods, if the CPU is occupied at 100% or almost on the Windows 10 or Windows 11 system, the presence of Antimalware Service Executable which occupies the processor significantly. With a simple trick, you can make sure Defender doesn’t take up too much CPU.

Usually, however, 100% CPU occupancy by Defender is a transitory situation that tends to subside rather quickly. The only exception may be the case when you open the contents of an ISO file or a virtual machine containing a large number of files. In these circumstances, Defender could remain busy for longer.

It is possible to evaluate the use of a lighter antimalwareespecially if the device you are using uses a modest hardware configuration.

CPU occupancy by the BackgroundTransferHost and BackgroundTaskHost processes

Another very common problem, reported by several users, is the occupation of the CPU – regularly – by the BackgroundTransferHost and BackgroundTaskHost Windows processes.

If, observing the contents of the card Detailsyou see such processes appear, we suggest applying the instructions given in the article in which we explain what to do if the BackgroundTransferHost and BackgroundTaskHost processes occupy the CPU significantly.

Windows Update can be very CPU intensive

In case they were the processes related to Windows Update to occupy the processor in such a way as to hinder normal activities, the following interventions can be attempted:

1) Type Advanced Windows Update options in the Windows 10 or Windows 11 search box then click Delivery optimization. Then deactivate the option Allow downloads from other PCs.

2) On the screen Windows Update settingsclick on Change hours of operation and insert a time window outside office hours.

3) You can temporarily stop the Windows Update service by typing cmd in the Windows search box and then selecting Run as administrator. At this point, Windows Update can be stopped simply by typing:

sc stop wuauserv

In this way, you will be able to continue working without “slowdowns” until the next restart of the machine (or you can start Windows Update again by typing sc start wuauserv). However, it is best not to neglect installing Windows updates.


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