Tips To Handle High CPU Usage Problems On Your PC
Is your computer slow to start or shutdown?
Does your computer slow down considerably when you load multiple applications?
Does your computer freeze often or do you experience frequent software crashes?
If you replied YES to any of the above questions, then chances are that one or more running processes on your computer are eating into your system resources. In this article, we will discuss how you can resolve high CPU usage problems on a Windows PC.
High CPU usage issues can occur when:
- Your PC is infected with malware.
- Legitimate process(s) by design or owing to some problem consume inappropriate CPU resources.
When facing symptoms of high CPU consumption, such as ones listed above, we recommend you perform the following steps sequentially to resolve high CPU usage issues on your PC:
Step #1 – Perform a malware scan
Processes related to malicious programs often by design consume huge amounts of resources, causing your system to behave erratically. Perform a malware scan on your entire system using your protective suite to check if a malicious process, such as the csrrss.exe process, is present on your computer. In case the scan results show the presence of a threat, then take the appropriate action to sanitize your computer and restore its integrity. Restart your computer after you have removed the found threats and check to see if the issue has been resolved.
In case no threats were found, move to the next step.
Step #2 – Identify the culprit process
To identify which process is consuming huge amounts of resources, perform the following steps the next time your computer freezes or you encounter a software crash.
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Del.
- Click the Processes tab in the Windows Task Manager window that opens.
- Check the CPU consumption of each resource and write down the name of the processes that are reporting uncharacteristic CPU usage.
Next, you need to identify the program to which the culprit process belongs to. If you can identify this right away, good, otherwise type the name of the culprit process in a search engine, such as Google, to get the necessary information. After you have identified the culprit process, move to the next step.
Download the latest software update
Processes of outdated software may behave erratically due to compatibility issues with other running processes or installed applications. To fix the matter, visit the software manufacturer’s website and install the latest available updates. For instance, if you notice that the ekrn.exe process, (the process that belongs to ESET protection software), is consuming high CPU resources, then updating the software might help you to restore normalcy.
Identify the conflicting process and disable it
If the error persists after updating the software, chances are that some other running process or processes are conflicting with the process that is reporting high CPU usage and preventing it from behaving normally.
For example, Windows users that use Windows Defender and/or Windows Live OneCare, often complain of high CPU consumption by one of the process, msmpeng.exe, which is associated with both these programs. This behavior typically occurs not because of the msmpeng.exe process, but because some other running process is conflicting with this process.
To identify the conflicting process, perform the following steps:
- Click Start, click Run, type msconfig, and press Enter.
- Click Startup.
- Clear all listed entries and click Apply to save your changes.
- Reboot Windows and check to see if your PC behaves normally.
- Now, repeat steps 1 and 2 and select the first listed entry.
- Reboot Windows and check your PC behavior again.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each entry in the Startup list. Once you have identified the process that is causing the problem, disable it and restart Windows.