High CPU usage on Windows 10 can significantly slow down your computer and hinder performance. Whether you’re a casual user or a tech-savvy professional, this guide will help you fix high CPU usage issues in simple and advanced ways.

General Fixes

1: Restart the Computer

Sometimes, your computer can get bogged down by temporary files, residual data, or an unresponsive program that can lead to high CPU usage. Restarting your computer will shut down all the running processes and start them anew. This fresh start often resolves minor issues and can help in reducing CPU load. To restart, click on the Windows Start button, then the Power icon, and choose “Restart.”

2: Update Windows

Microsoft consistently issues updates for Windows 10 with the intent of resolving issues, enhancing performance, and introducing fresh features. If your system is running on an outdated version of Windows, it may cause compatibility issues and lead to high CPU usage. To check for updates, go to “Settings” > “Update & Security” > “Windows Update” and click “Check for updates.” If updates are available, install them and restart the computer.

3: Close Unnecessary Applications

Running too many applications at the same time, especially those that require significant computing resources, can overburden the CPU. Shutting down unused applications can liberate resources and alleviate the CPU burden. You can close applications through the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc, selecting the application you want to close, and clicking “End Task.”

4: Scan for Viruses and Malware

Viruses and malicious software can cause high CPU usage by running unwanted processes in the background. Running a full system scan using a trusted antivirus program can detect and remove these threats. Make sure your antivirus is up-to-date before performing the scan.

5: Adjust Power Settings

Elevated CPU utilization may also be linked to the power settings of your system. When configured for “High performance,” it could lead to increased CPU exertion. You can switch to a balanced or power-saving plan to reduce CPU stress. Go to “Control Panel” > “Power Options” and select a plan that suits your needs.

6: Clean Temporary Files

Over time, temporary files accumulate and can slow down the system, leading to high CPU usage. Cleaning these files can boost performance. To do this, press the Windows key + R, type “temp” and press Enter. Select all files in the folder and delete them.

These general fixes are usually enough to resolve common high CPU usage issues on Windows 10. They can be performed by users of all skill levels and don’t require specialized tools or knowledge. If these general fixes do not resolve the issue, further investigation and more advanced solutions may be necessary.

Advanced Fixes

1: Adjust Performance Settings

Windows provides options to adjust the balance between appearance and performance. High visual settings may look appealing but can strain the CPU. By selecting “Adjust for best performance,” you can free up CPU resources. 

To do this, right-click “This PC” > “Properties” 

 “Advanced system settings” 

“Settings” under Performance, 

and choose “Adjust for best performance.”

2: Disable Startup Programs

Some applications start automatically when Windows boots up and can take up valuable CPU resources. Deactivating superfluous startup programs can accelerate the system’s performance. 

Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), go to the “Startup” tab, right-click the unnecessary programs, and choose “Disable.”

3: Check for Malware

Elevated CPU usage can serve as an indicator of potential malware running on your system. Use a specialized malware scanner in addition to your regular antivirus software to detect and remove any hidden threats. Ensure that you update your malware scanner to the most recent version prior to initiating the scan.

4: Update Drivers

Outdated or incompatible drivers can cause high CPU usage. Maintaining up-to-date drivers guarantees compatibility with the latest updates and maximizes performance.

Go to “Device Manager,” right-click on the device you want to update, choose “Update driver,” and follow the on-screen instructions.

5: Modify Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual memory is used when the physical RAM is full. Insufficient virtual memory might cause high CPU usage. Expanding the size of the paging file can help alleviate the problem.

Right-click “This PC” > “Properties” 

“Advanced system settings” 

“Settings” under Performance 

 “Advanced” tab > “Change” under Virtual Memory. 

Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size” and set a custom size as needed.

6: Check for System File Corruption

Corrupted system files can lead to high CPU usage. Running the System File Checker tool can find and repair these files. 

Open Command Prompt as an administrator, type “sfc /scannow,” and press Enter. 

Follow any on-screen instructions.

7: Disable Unnecessary Services

Some Windows services run in the background and might not be essential for your particular use. Disabling them can free up CPU resources. 

Open “Run” (Windows key + R), type “services.msc,” and press Enter. 

Right-click on the service you want to disable and select “Properties” 

“Startup type” > “Disabled.”

These advanced fixes require a bit more technical knowledge but offer more precise control over the system. They are recommended for users who are comfortable with modifying system settings and who have already tried the general fixes without success. 


Experiencing high CPU usage in Windows 10 is a frequent issue, but one that can be resolved. From understanding the symptoms to applying general and advanced fixes, this guide provides a step-by-step approach to restoring optimal performance.