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(SOLVED) Why your CPU Usage is Too High (at 100%)

Why is my CPU usage so high?

High CPU usage in Windows operating systems are usually caused by a conflict with an antivirus program, a virus on the system, or running too many background processes.


Three causes of high CPU Usage are:

  • The WMI Provider Host process
  • Too many background processes
  • A virus or an antivirus software


The WMI Provider Host process

The WMI Provider Host process — which displays on your Processes tab as Service Host: Windows Management Instrumentation — is a critical component of Windows that frequently runs in the background.

The process is used to keep track of a vast number of systems on a network and if its CPU consumption rises above a few percentage points, it could mean your system is infected with a nasty bug.

Turning OFF the process and then turning it back ON again is the quickest solution to this problem in the IT troubleshooting guide.

  • Type msc in the Run window.
  • Right-click on Windows Management Instrumentation in the Services window
  • Select Restart.

This should restart the service.

However, you can alternatively restart your computer if you prefer. When this doesn’t work, the WMI Provider host could be dealing with a different process causing the issue.

Select Applications and Service Logs, Microsoft, Windows, WMI-Activity, and Operational in the Event Viewer window.

Look for recent error entries and write down the ClientProcessID for each error you think is causing the issue. Return to Task Manager, select the Services tab and arrange the list by PID.

You can compare your list of suspect processes to this list to determine what’s causing your problem.


Too many background processes

Background processes run without the user opening them in a window and eat up a certain amount of a computer’s CPU.

However, as time passes and additional apps are downloaded, those background processes can build up and consume a significant amount of system resources.

You can stop these processes by unchecking them in the Startup tab in the Task Manager window and restarting your computer to prevent them from starting again.


A virus or an antivirus program

Scanning your hard drive for threats on a regular basis can consume a surprising amount of CPU power, especially if you’re using an older device or operating system.

If your device begins to lag at irregular periods, it could be due to an antivirus consuming your processor’s resources.

To prevent it, use your antivirus’s scheduling feature to ensure that it only scans your device when you are not likely to use it.

Alternatively, you could have malware on your computer consuming all of your CPU’s processing power by running multiple background processes or attempting to propagate via email and social media.

Detecting a virus on your computer is difficult—even scanning your device with an antivirus program may not be enough as many types of malware employ “anti-forensics,” which prohibits them from executing if they detect security software on your system.

Virus removal can be done manually or by scanning with multiple antivirus software.


Tips for managing high CPU usage

  1. Reboot your PC.
  2. Update your drivers.
  3. Scan for malware.
  4. Check Power Options by going to the Start menu and typing Edit Power Plan.


Is high CPU usage bad?

High CPU usage need not necessarily be bad. If your CPU usage is near 100%, it suggests your machine is attempting to perform more work than it is capable of doing. This is usually fine but it does mean that programs may take a bit longer to load.

It’s common for computers to use close to 100% of their CPUs when doing computationally-intensive things like running games.


Fix high cpu usage


How to decrease CPU usage

To decrease CPU usage, you can use these steps:

  • Save your work and then restart your computer.
  • End or Restart Processes. Use Task Manager to end or restart a process. To open Task Manager, use CTRL+SHIFT+ESC
  • Update Drivers. If a process consumes too much CPU, you can upgrade your drivers.
  • Scan for Malware. Run a full scan with your antivirus program to see if this is the case.
  • Power Options. Set a suitable power plan. To check your Power Options, go to the Start menu and type Edit Power Plan.
  • Reinstalling Windows. Click Start and then type reset this PC in the search box. Click Get Started under the Reset this PC This process may take up to an hour.


Why is my CPU usage at 100%?

When a CPU reaches 100% utilization, it simply signifies that one or more cores/threads are being used at a high clock speed.

You probably have a dual-core CPU if just one or two cores are being used and the utilization is maxed out.

Reasons for 100% CPU usage are:


1. Too Many Background Processes

A background process is a program that runs in the background of a computer and is not visible in the window. The computer will have multiple background processes running simultaneously because Windows requires some background processes to function.

As you continue to install programs, your PC will get increasingly cluttered, resulting in high CPU consumption.


2. Svchost.exe (netscvs) Process

You might have noticed that svchost.exe (netscvs) takes a lot of memory or CPU when you open Task Manager. It’s sometimes associated with malware but it is a legal, system-critical Windows process.


3. WMI Provider Host (WmiPrvSE.EXE)

WMI Provider Host is a Windows process that helps you organize, monitor and troubleshoot many systems on your network. However, it can sometimes spiral out of control.


4. Awful Antivirus Software or a Virus

Firstly, bothersome antivirus software will result in a lot of CPU usage. On the other hand, a virus can cause a lot of CPU utilization.


5. System Idle Process

In reality, an idle system process is nothing more than a CPU-hogging thread that will be ignored. As a result, this can cause excessive CPU consumption.


Why does my CPU usage spike from 0 to 100%?

A virus, spyware or other dangerous software that is using your CPU is a common cause of CPU spikes. If you notice a process in the Processor tab of the Task Manager that you don’t recognize, this could be the problem.


CPU spikes in personal computers are produced by various circumstances, including excessive and continuous use, insufficient power supply and inappropriate cooling.


Spikes in CPU usage can  be caused by large software applications or executing many programs simultaneously.


How to fix high CPU usage 100%

To fix high CPU usage, you can use these steps:

  • Before restarting your computer, save your work first.
  • End or Restart Processes. To access Task Manager, use CTRL+SHIFT+ESCAPE.
  • Update Drivers. If a process consumes too much CPU, you can upgrade your drivers.
  • Scan for Malware. Run a full scan with your antivirus product to see if this is the case.
  • Power Options. To check your Power Options, go to the start menu and type “Edit Power Plan.”
  • Reinstalling Windows. Press the Start button, then type “reset this computer” into the search box. Select “Get Started” from the drop-down menu. This procedure can take up to an hour to complete.

Why is my CPU usage so high with nothing running?

Background processes are the main cause of high CPU utilization when the Task Manager does not indicate why the CPU usage is high.

Make sure to scan your PC if nothing is using a lot of resources in Task Manager but there is a lot of CPU utilization. Examine your power options settings if the CPU is running at 100% when nothing is running.


What should my CPU usage be when gaming?

Normal CPU utilization is 2% to 4% when the computer is idle, 10% to 30% when playing less demanding games, up to 70% for more demanding games and 100% for graphics-intensive games.


Should CPU usage be higher than GPU?

No, your CPU usage should not be higher than your GPU usage. When it comes to GPU usage or utilization, 100%  is ideal because you’re maximizing your GPU.

100% CPU usage is not ideal as it indicates a serious issue and will cause the computer to slow down. The optimal CPU utilization is in the range of 50-80% range.


Why is my CPU usage higher than GPU?

Gaming is the only time when CPU utilization exceeds GPU usage. During games, for example, the GPU would operate at 97-99 percent, but the CPU usage would be around 40-50 percent.

After a while, the GPU would then be used at 70 percent (approximately), while the CPU would be used at 70-80 percent.

The frame rate would subsequently begin to decline by 30-40 frames per second and in some games (such as Valorant), it would drop by half.


Advice to lower CPU usage than GPU:

  • Check the GPU drivers.
  • Tweak the in-game settings.
  • Patch the affected games.
  • Disable background apps from third parties.
  • In BIOS/UEFI, disable all power-saving modes.
  • Enable XMP in BIOS/UEFI.
  • Use four cores if possible and try overclocking.
  • Reinstall the game if the problem occurs when you play a game.


How to lower CPU usage in games?

To lower CPU usage in games you need to reinstall your GPU drivers, disable unnecessary  background apps and disable power preserving mode.


Disable Unnecessary Background Applications

  • To access the Run utility, press the Windows + R keys together. Enter the msconfig command to open the System Configuration
  • Click the Services tab and uncheck the item that says Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
  • Click OK after selecting the Disable all option.
  • Open the Task Manager window by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together.
  • Close all unwanted running programs by right-clicking on them and selecting the End task option.


Uninstall GPU Drivers

  • Open the Run
  • Type msc to open the Device Manager window.
  • Navigate to the GPU driver and choose it with the right-click menu. To uninstall the driver, select Uninstall Device from the drop-down menu.


Change the In-Game Settings

The in-game settings not compatible with your computer’s specifications have been known to create a high CPU usage issue.

Check to see if the in-game FPS limit is set to infinite or greater than what your CPU can manage. Many gamers have found that limiting the number of frames per second (FPS) to the computer system’s specifications can drastically minimize CPU utilization.

If your CPU consumption is high but your GPU usage is modest, consider playing on the High or Ultra graphics settings. The utilization demand on your GPU is pushed from your CPU when you play at higher graphics settings.

If none of the previous options assists, try playing at a low graphics setting to see if it helps.


Disable All Power Preserving Modes

  • Type cmd in the Windows search box and then right-click the Command Prompt option that appears.
  • From the pop-up menu, select Run as administrator to open the Command Prompt.
  • In the command prompt, type shutdown /r /fw and press Enter. Your computer will now restart and the UEFI Firmware settings will appear.
  • Turn OFF any power-saving features and then restart your computer normally.
  • After Windows has fully loaded, go to the Windows search bar, type power & sleep settings and select the relevant option.
  • Select Additional power settings under the Related Settings
  • Select the option to Change advanced power settings now under Change plan settings located next to the Balanced (recommended) section.
  • From the drop-down menu, select High performance and click OK.


Upgrade Your Hardware

If none of the preceding alternatives worked, it’s likely time to upgrade your hardware to a more recent version.

Whatever you do, it’s possible that your hardware isn’t compatible enough to run the game. Unfortunately, there is no choice but to change the hardware if this is the case.


Why is CPU usage too high while playing Fortnite?

The minimal system requirements for Fortnite are a Core i3-3225 3.3 GHz processor, and the system information file reveals a Core i7-7600U 2.8GHz processor, which fulfills (and exceeds) those requirements.

To expand the list, click the + sign next to Components. Check your video card(s) to see if they meet the minimum requirements.


Why is CPU usage maxed out while playing Minecraft?

There are various reasons why your CPU use is maxed out while playing Minecraft. The most common offenders are mods, plugins and world things.


Tips for reducing CPU usage while playing Minecraft:

  • Registry Hack. The first and most effective and helpful method for resolving any difficulties relating to excessive RAM usage.
  • Uninstall programs you don’t want.
  • Disable any startup programs that aren’t needed.
  • Fix the driver problem.
  • Configure Windows 10 to function optimally.


Why is my CPU usage high while playing Halo Infinite?

Overclocking could be the main reason for Halo Infinite’s 100% CPU use. Overclocking gives you the extra boost you need to run demanding applications but this is at the cost of depleting the CPU and making it unstable.

If you’re overclocking, high CPU temperature or 100% CPU use could result.


Why is my CPU usage high playing Battlefield 2042?

The CPU use has always been an issue for Battlefield games and BF2042 is no exception. Many mistakes and glitches were reported throughout the game’s beta period with the Battlefield 2042 100% CPU use or high CPU consumption being one of the most common problems.

The game requires a small amount of GPU in comparison to CPU utilization. You can do a few things to lower the CPU temperature if you run into this problem.

  1. Select Battlefield 2042 from the list in Nvidia Control Panel>Manage 3D Settings>Program Settings.
  2. Select Off for Threaded Optimization in the Settings
  3. Click Apply. This will fix the BF2042 100% CPU usage.


How to lower CPU usage Windows 10

  1. Prior to rebooting your computer, make sure you save your work.
  2. End or Restart Processes. To visit the Task Manager menu, press CTRL+SHIFT+ESCAPE.
  3. Update Drivers. If you find that a process is consuming a lot of CPU, you have to upgrade your drivers.
  4. Scan for Malware. Perform a full system scan with your antivirus software to check if malware is causing the high CPU issue.
  5. Power Options. Go to the Start menu and enter “Edit Power Plan.”
  6. Reinstalling Windows. Click the Start button, and in the search box, type “reset this computer”. Click “Get Started” from the drop-down menu that appears. This can take a maximum of an hour to finish.


How to Lower CPU usage Windows 11

To lower your CPU usage in Windows 11, you can restart your PC, optimize the startup applications and disable your background apps.


1. Restart your PC

  • From the taskbar, click the Start
  • Click the Power
  • Select Restart from the pop-up menu.


2. Optimize startup applications

  • Press the Windows+ R keys together to open the Run
  • In the Run window, type msconfig and press Enter or click OK.
  • In the System Configuration window, click the Startup
  • Open the Task Manager window by clicking the Open Task Manager
  • To group tasks depending on the status, click the Status header.
  • Disable any apps with an Enabled setting that you don’t want to load when Windows starts.


3. Disable any background apps that aren’t being used

  • From the taskbar, click the Windows
  • From the Start menu, select the Settings option to open the Settings window.
  • Click Apps followed by the Apps & features option on the left panel.
  • Select any app you don’t require and click the three dots next to it.
  • Click the Advanced
  • Select Never from the drop-down menu.
  • Carry out the same steps for all of the apps you want to turn OFF.


4. Examine the power options in Windows 11

  • From your taskbar, click the Search
  • Choose the power plan option from the results after typing the power plan.
  • Select the option for high performance.



Even though it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of high CPU usage, the most common and related solutions are listed above. You may have to sometimes opt for more than one of the methods to fix the issue of high CPU usage.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

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