Continued use of the CPU at 90/100% can damage the user experience. Find out why CPU usage in Windows is so high and fix the problem.

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Having a PC with 100% continuously used CPU is a guarantee of disaster. It’s like driving your car in second gear all day – engine failure is inevitable. To avoid having to replace your CPU or your entire PC, here’s how to reduce CPU usage to sustainable levels.

1. Identify the process causing 100% CPU usage

Windows Task Manager will tell you exactly which programs are causing 90 to 100% high CPU usage. Here’s how to identify the causes of high CPU usage with Windows 10 Task Manager:

  1. Step 1: Right-click on the taskbar and choose Task Manager .

  2. Step 2: In Task Manager, go to the Processes tab and click on the CPU column to sort the list by CPU usage.

    View CPU usage in Windows Task Manager.

If you’re not familiar with the app that’s causing high CPU usage in Windows 10, search for it online. Others may have had the same problem. If you recognize the problematic program and you don’t need it at the moment, close it. This should help alleviate the problems of 100% CPU usage on your PC.

2. Close unnecessary applications or suspend them

A great way to reduce CPU usage is to close or suspend unused apps . With many apps, however, it’s not that simple. It is likely that your computer has constantly running many background applications , even when you are not actively using them. Uninstalling these programs isn’t always possible – they could be essential Windows apps or other programs you need for work or play.

The patented Hibernation mode in AVG TuneUp is designed just for these situations. Hibernate mode detects all resource-hungry apps and “puts them to sleep” whenever you don’t need them to prevent high or 100% CPU usage. Try it yourself with a free evaluation version of AVG TuneUp .

AVG TuneUp allows you to hibernate programs to prevent the CPU from running at 100%.

Hibernate mode disables background activity that causes high CPU usage in Windows 10. You can choose individual apps to hibernate or put all CPU-heavy apps on hold at the same time. The more apps you suspend, the lower the CPU usage.

When you need these apps again, AVG TuneUp automatically reactivates them. You can also use TuneUp to prevent resource-intensive startup processes, a great way to reduce CPU usage and improve PC startup times .

Particularly resource-demanding apps, such as multimedia editing software, can push the CPU up to 100% even when everything else is idle. In these cases, consider upgrading your laptop or switching to a Solid State Drive (SSD) .

You should also check the available RAM and get more memory if necessary. The apps you use most frequently can help you determine the PC power you need .

3. Physically clean your PC

Your PC and laptop can accumulate a lot of dust which will cause problems if not removed. If you haven’t cleaned your PC for a while, the inside might look like the following photos:

Dusty PC fans can lead to high CPU usage.

Dust accumulated on the computer’s fans prevents them from cooling the PC. The temperature of the PC thus rises and this can cause the CPU to self-adjust or throttle performance. In this case, 100% CPU utilization will be achieved quickly .

If your computer’s fans are caked with dust, get a vacuum cleaner and a can of compressed air and physically clean your PC .

4. Check your PC for malware

Many types of malware will consume almost all resources and cause 100% or nearly 100% CPU usage. Some viruses are also designed to cause high CPU usage. Other malware will drain your CPU by doing their malicious work, whether it is adware or floods you with popups or a cryptomining program that generates Bitcoin for the enterprising cybercriminal who managed to insert it into your PC.

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Scan your entire PC and all external drives with a Malware & Virus Removal Tool . AVG AntiVirus Free is a totally free anti-malware suite that detects any traces of malware on your computer and removes them before they can do any further damage. From then on you will be safe, because AVG AntiVirus Free protects your devices and home Wi-Fi network in real time from any incoming threats.

5. Check for outdated drivers and software

Old and unreliable drivers or software components are often the cause of high CPU usage. I recently had an unexplained high CPU usage case which I eventually found to be caused by a driver Four year old Wi-Fi incompatible with the latest version of Windows 10. A simple driver update solved the problem completely.

The same can happen with software: an old media player could cause unnecessary spikes in processor usage. To avoid this type of problem, update your drivers and software regularly. The updating audio drivers and the using updated graphics drivers also ensures that the display and sounds of movies and video games are optimal on your PC.

AVG Driver Updater monitors your computer 24/7 for outdated or malfunctioning drivers and automatically takes care of the update. With a library of over 5 million drivers, it has any update you might need available.

AVG Driver Updater keeps drivers up to date to avoid CPU overload.

In addition to helping to correct a high CPU usage condition, keeping drivers updated can prevent other PC problems such as Windows black screen errors .

Why should I worry about high CPU usage?

Not all high CPU usage cases are problematic. Having temporary spikes in CPU utilization at 90% or 100% is normal if you are running resource-intensive tasks such as high-end games or graphic design. As long as your CPU slows down after you’re done, there’s nothing to worry about.

constant high CPU usage , however, is a potential problem. If the CPU reaches 100% for extended periods of time, the consequences can be as follows:

  • Freezes, crashes and interruptions: If the CPU struggles to keep up, process execution can become problematic. Your computer may freeze or crash, resulting in loss of work, file corruption and other problems.

  • High CPU temperatures: Computer components produce heat during operation. The more they work, the more heat they generate. The PC has fans and other cooling mechanisms to regulate internal temperatures, because these same heat-producing components are also extremely sensitive to high temperatures. High and prolonged CPU usage heats the CPU much more than normal, which can cause slow performance, freezes or crashes.

Why is the CPU utilization at 100%?

High CPU usage in Windows 10 and earlier can be caused by a number of factors including resource-intensive processes, high internal temperatures, or even malware . If your PC is constantly using 90% or 100% CPU, check out this list of the most common causes of high CPU usage:

The PC is under a heavy load

Some resource-intensive processes and other tasks consume a lot of CPU processing power. Your PC may be busy installing a Windows update or rendering a video in the background. In cases like these, high CPU usage is normal.

When the resource-consuming task finishes, the CPU usage should return to less than 10% . If not, the problem may have other causes.

Processor fans do not cool the CPU

Like all internal PC components, the CPU is sensitive to high temperatures. The CPU temperature regulation is essential for managing CPU usage, especially during a CPU stress test or overclocking.

While many CPUs simply shut down if they overheat, some limit the speed drastically, for example from 4 GHz up to 500 MHz. In these cases, even the smallest workload will cause high CPU usage.

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In case of CPU overclocking , special attention should be paid to the heat levels and the computer fan noise . If you haven’t cleaned your PC fans thoroughly for a while, now is the time to do it.

You have a malware infection

Many types of malware, particularly viruses and worms , will eat up your CPU resources. Computer viruses and worms create countless copies of themselves as well as other damage, easily causing 100% CPU utilization. Viruses can cause all sorts of chaos on your PC, including high processor usage.

Drivers or other software are out of date or defective

Outdated device drivers and other apps can start functioning incorrectly and even become incompatible with current versions of Windows 10. These problems can cause CPU usage up to 100% or even lead to crashes and blocks. Updating drivers and software is a great way to clean up and speed up your PC .

You have too many apps open at the same time

If you’re the multitasking type with 50 tabs open and 20 apps running at the same time, the reason for the high CPU usage is clear. If your PC has too much work to do, it will try hard to do it.

AVG TuneUp prevents background programs from running and wasting CPU resources so your PC can focus on important tasks. With automatic detection and removal of bloatware, junk files and other space-consuming apps, you’ll have plenty of room for what you actually need.

The problem is caused by a specific app

Specific applications and processes are known to occasionally cause high CPU usage. For example:

  • Windows Module Installer causes 100% CPU utilization.

  • Svchost.exe causes high processor usage.

In such cases, it may be necessary to configure, reinstall or remove the offending app.

Windows Task Manager showing high CPU usage in Windows 10.

What percentage of CPU usage can be considered normal?

If high CPU utilization means 90% or 100%, what is normal CPU utilization in Windows 10? With your computer on, you’ll never have zero CPU usage, because your PC is always doing something.

The following shows CPU utilization under a few different (normal) circumstances:

  • When the computer is idle , CPU utilization of 10% or less is typical. Windows 10 and the apps on your PC are constantly writing log files or checking for notifications in the background. This causes persistent resource usage and there is nothing to worry about.

    Using the Windows Task Manager to check CPU usage for an idle PC.

  • When browsing the web or using standard programs like Microsoft Office, you can expect CPU utilization of between 5% and 30%. This can also include the use of graphic design programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, assuming the files you are working on are not too large.

  • games can push CPU utilization beyond 50%, but you shouldn’t reach the danger threshold of 90% with the latest mods for GTA 5 . The CPU levels for gaming largely depend on the components present within your PC. more powerful gaming PCs can run resource-intensive games with less effort than weaker PCs.

  • Intensive programs such as video rendering, 3D modeling or graphic design with large files can consume 100% of the CPU. But as long as your CPU is back to normal when finished, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Adjust CPU Usage with AVG TuneUp

When programs on your PC are competing for limited CPU resources, you can reach 100% CPU utilization in no time. AVG TuneUp automatically detects the apps responsible for high CPU usage and lets you disable them with a single click, leaving you with enough CPU power for the apps you need. actually serve.

Give your CPU the help it needs to get the performance you want from your PC. Discover AVG TuneUp now with a free trial.

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