Why CPU Usage Is High? How To Fix It?

by Arslan Ashraf

Why CPU Usage Is High? How To Fix It?

If you’re unhappy with how your PC or laptop performs, it’s time to troubleshoot and unlock its actual performance capabilities. We must focus on the processor, or central processing unit since it’s one of the most important components. Most of the processes running in your system depend on the CPU, making it one of the most integral parts of your computer. High CPU usage is frequently the source of poor performance. This issue may be affecting your computer if you’re experiencing long loading times, crashes, or freezes. 

Most of the time, a laggy performance experience you get from your pc is an indication of high CPU usage. But it’s important to know why CPU usage is high before solving this issue. For your information, there are several methods you can go through to resolve your problem and get the best performance out of your computer. In this article, we’ll go through all the reasons why your CPU utilization is high so you can troubleshoot your problem and remove the errors. Moreover, we’ll also introduce you to some fixes to solve the issue. 

What exactly is high CPU usage?

Your CPU utilization should be low when you are not using numerous applications, and in a perfect world, everything should go smoothly without a hitch. Remember, your CPU may fluctuate from time to time, but it usually is never much of a concern. If you see any discrepancies in the performance of your pc, checking the CPU should be your first choice. Once you have done that, it would be a good idea to explore more components.

For your information, high physical memory utilization can be caused by a flaw in a process that would typically be much less resource-intensive or by running too many resource-intensive apps. Numerous factors might contribute to slow processing, some of which will be more challenging to address than others. Well, to reduce CPU usage, the first step is to know it. You must read the section below to get a better idea about usage. 

Why CPU Usage is High? How to Fix High CPU Usage?

High CPU Usage could be caused due to several reasons. Bear in mind that your CPU performs most of the tasks of your computer and hence will only overdo it if certain instructions are passed to it. Some common reasons for High CPU usage are as follows:

1. Background Apps & Programs

Most of the time, some apps and programs are running in the background of every PC or even mobile phone. Things are running smoothly up to this point since it’s the necessity of each system. But it becomes a severe issue when the number of background apps and programs increase beyond optimal limits. This also puts a lot of load on the CPU and may slow down its performance. For example, if your PC takes much more time than necessary while turning on, it would happen due to background apps and programs.

All you have to do is to close the unwanted background apps, programs, or software. Follow the below method to do so.

  • Step 1:  Press the Windows key + X to open a small window.
  • Step 2:  Locate Task Manager > open it.
  • Step 3:   Select the application you want to close > End task.

2. Viruses and Malware

A computer virus is a malicious code that replicates itself by copying itself to another program, computer boot sector, or document and alters the operation of a computer. After some type of human intervention, a virus spreads between systems. Viruses spread by creating their own files on an infected system, attaching themselves to a legitimate program, infecting the boot process of a computer, or infecting user documents. If there is a virus on your computer, then it may cause high CPU usage because it can open unwanted programs in the background.

On the other hand, malware simply stands for malicious software. It is a code or a file that is usually delivered over the network and runs in the background to corrupt system files. Generally, it is in the form of an executable file that will most likely harm your computer if executed. If your computer is affected by malware, this may cause high CPU usage as it runs in the background and executes non-important instructions. It is a good idea to diagnose your computer for malware and remove it as soon as possible.

Removing both viruses and malware from a computer is a simple process. All you have to do is to scan your whole PC and locate the viruses and malware in your system. Follow these steps to do so.

  • Step 1: Go to Windows settings > locate the Update & Security section. 
  • Step 2: Click the Windows Security >  then, Virus & threat protection.
  • Step 3: Simply click the Quick scan option. 

Note: The scanning process may take up to 15 minutes to completely go through your PC and find any suspicious files. Additionally, the PC will automatically restart as well once the process is completed. So wait until its completion.  

  • Step 4: Once your system is restarted, go to Virus & threat Protection again using Step 1 and Step 2. 
  • Step 5: Go to Protection history > delete all the suspicious files

3. Outdated Drivers

Essentially Drivers are software that enables your input and output devices to interact with your operating system. They act as a bridge between the software and hardware. These are usually updated when the windows update or you install a new component. It is crucial to update them because if you don’t, then the I/O devices will not be able to interact easily, causing a glitch in the working and ultimately leading to high CPU utilization. So go to your windows and update any drivers that are outdated.

Follow all the steps given below to update the drivers. Let’s start!

  • Step 1: Go to Windows settings > locate the Update & Security section. 
  • Step 2: Click the Windows Update Check for updates.

Note: Update the required or all the drivers if you find some updates here.  

4. Buggy updates of the windows

One of the reasons for high CPU usage could be the few hefty and buggy Windows updates. If you’re a user who has recently updated Windows or some of its drivers and your system started slowing down, this must be happening due to that recent update. As far as the solution matters, you have to uninstall all the updates that have caused the CPU speed to slow down. To uninstall the updates on Windows 11, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open Windows Settings by pressing the Windows key + I.
  • Step 2: Go to Update & Security > Windows update.
  • Step 3: Go to View update history to know your recent installs > locate the Uninstall updates option, which is given on the page’s top-left section.

Note: After clicking this option, the Control panel will open, showing the recent updates.

  • Step 6: Uninstall the recent updates or the one that is causing the issue.

Note: Make sure to restart your PC after uninstalling the bad updates. 

How to check CPU usage?

There are several methods to check if your CPU usage is high or not. The most common method is to run the task manager and check the CPU utilization. If you are experiencing stutters and lags during the operation of your machine, then it is undoubtedly a high CPU usage problem, so you should check it as soon as possible. Here’s how to check CPU utilization from the task manager:

  • Step 1: Right-click on your taskbar.
  • Step 2: Select Task Manager from the drop-down menu > click it.
  • Step 3: Click More details to expand the Task Manager window using the form. 
  • Step 4: Go to the Processes tab > check your CPU usage.

Another method is to use the resource monitor. It is essentially an extension of the task manager, and you may notice it in the sidebar if you open it. This will give you a detailed overview of your CPU utilization, including temperatures and cycles per second. If you are interested, then this is how you can check CPU utilization from the resource monitor:

  • Step 1: Click on the Windows icon on the bottom left corner of your screen.
  • Step 2: Search for a Resource Monitor > open it.

Note: You can view CPU usage from here. 


High CPU consumption is one of the most straightforward problems that can affect a computer’s performance. In addition, if you don’t know where to look, it can be challenging to find the root of the problem. If excessive CPU utilization continues, even when supporting common processes, you could only require a faster computer. By increasing RAM, which enables your computer to store more program data, you can also lessen the CPU burden. This makes internal data transfers and fresh memory allocations less frequent, which can give your CPU a much-needed vacation.

CPUs are made to operate securely at full CPU use. But we often, unknowingly, put our computer into some heavy usage that may put too much load on the CPU. You must know why the processing unit’s usage is high to avoid these circumstances, though, whenever they make games feel slower. You may potentially resolve the problems that significantly impact your CPU consumption and gameplay. However, software patches do not always work to resolve CPU problems. It might be time for an upgrade if your CPU can’t keep up with the games you’re trying to run on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my CPU usage at 100%?

If your CPU usage is at 100%, it’s a clear sign that something load-intensive is happening on your system. You may be running some games or doing content creation. If not, there may be some background application running or viruses or malware putting too much load on your processing unit.

What is normal CPU usage?

Most of the time, a 10-30% CPU usage is considered healthy for your processor and computer. But in idle situations, it could be 2-4% most of the time. On the other hand, the user can go up to 90% or more while playing games or doing other heavy-duty stuff like content creation or 3D rendering.

Is it normal to have 90% CPU usage?

Normal CPU usage can be 10-30% while using your computer for ordinary purposes like internet surfing, watching multimedia, or creating word documents. But it can go up to 90% or even above when playing games, creating content, or performing 3D rendering.

Arslan Ashraf

Arslan Ashraf is a tech enthusiast and an experienced technical writer at GamingDairy. He has been writing all types of guides, tutorials, and tips for gamers, developers, and other people who use computers. His way of writing is quite unique: he starts with testing every single piece of Hardware and does a long list of experiments before writing the actual masterpiece. Well, if you have any queries, ensure to connect with him!