Top 10 Ways to Fix High CPU Usage on Windows 11
When a PC seems slow, users often open Task Manager and are confused to see higher CPU usage. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved even with Windows 11. If you encounter unexpected stopsor if Windows keeps crashingthis may be due to higher CPU usage.
Now, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact problem that’s causing high CPU usage – usually it’s software or a setting. We have compiled a list of useful methods to fix high CPU usage issue on Windows 11 PC.
1. Identify apps with higher CPU usage
Open the Windows Task Manager and identify applications that show higher CPU usage. Once located, you can end apps you don’t need to quickly reduce CPU usage. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the task manager.
2nd step: In the Processes tab, you will find the current CPU usage tab. Click the CPU column to sort apps and services by their CPU usage.
Step 3: Close all unnecessary applications with high CPU usage to check if this reduces CPU usage.
Note that web browsers like Google Chrome are known to consume a lot of CPU resources, especially when streaming something on video sites or listening to music while having multiple tabs open.
2. Limit background apps
If you have too many apps and programs running in the background, they might hog the CPU from time to time. You can disable some less useful background apps entirely to avoid this. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app. Click on the Applications option in the left column and click on “Installed Applications” in the right pane.
2nd step: Locate the app you want to disable. Click on the three-dot menu next to select advanced options.
Step 3: Under Background app permissions, use the drop-down menu to choose Never.
Repeat the same for any apps you don’t want to run in the background.
3. Restore Power Plan to Default Settings
Windows 11 lets you choose from different power plans to prioritize performance, battery life, or strike a balance between the two. If you have changed any of the power plan settings to increase the battery life, you might experience such performance issues. You can easily undo these changes by restoring the power plan to the default settings. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press Windows key + S to open Windows Search, type change power planand click on the first result that appears.
2nd step: In the next window, click “Restore default settings for this plan” at the bottom. Click Yes in the prompt that follows.
Restart your PC and try using it again to check if that fixes the high CPU usage.
4. Disable Superfetch Service
Superfetch (Sysmain) is a service that allows applications on Windows to load content before you even open them. However, depending on the number of applications you use and your PC configuration, CPU usage may also increase significantly. To solve this problem, you can disable the Superfetch service for a while. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press Windows key + R to launch the Run command. Type services.msc in the box and press Enter.
2nd step: Locate the SysMain service in the list and double-click it to open its properties.
Step 3: Change the startup type to Disabled and press Apply followed by OK.
Restart your computer to apply the changes and check if it still shows high CPU usage in Task Manager.
5. Disable Cortana
Many users also experienced reduced CPU usage after disabling Cortana on Windows. Although Microsoft’s digital assistant is much less intrusive on Windows 11, it can sometimes hog system resources.
Step 1: Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app. On the Applications tab, click Installed Applications.
2nd step: Scroll down to locate Cortana, click on the three-dot menu next to it and select Advanced options.
Step 3: Finally, disable the Cortana option in the “Runs at login” section.
6. Wait for Windows to complete updates
If Windows 11 is checking, downloading, or installing updates in the background, you may find that CPU usage increases during this time. You can check if Windows is downloading or installing updates from the Settings app.
Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu and select Settings from the list.
2nd step: Visit the Windows Update tab and check the status of Windows Update.
If your Windows PC is downloading updates, wait for them to install properly. If the updates are already downloaded, restart your PC to install them.
7. Check Power
Power issues can also lead to high CPU usage issues on the Windows 11 desktop. If your PC is not getting enough power, Windows will try to adapt accordingly and may not run at its full capacity. You can inspect the power cable connected to your desktop for any cuts or damage.
8. Scan for Malware and Disable Third-Party Antivirus Software
The presence of malware is another reason why CPU usage may increase from time to time. You can use the Windows Security application to run a full scan of your PC and check for threats.
Moreover, the use of third-party antivirus programs on Windows can also lead to such abnormalities. Typically, third-party antivirus programs can overload your PC by constantly running scans in the background. If so, disabling automatic scans in the antivirus program will help.
9. Quit the Windows Insider Program
If you signed up for the Insider Program, you might be using one of the Preview or Dev builds of Windows 11. Since these builds are unstable, they can eat up unnecessary resources on your PC.
To avoid this, you can consider leaving the Windows Insider Program.
Step 1: Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
2nd step: Go to Windows Update and click Windows Insider Program.
Step 3: Under Stop getting preview builds, enable the option “Unenroll this device in the next version of Windows”.
Restart your PC to make sure all the changes are in effect.
10. Perform System Restore
A recent change in system settings or the installation of an application may have created a high CPU usage issue on Windows 11. If you are unable to identify the culprit, you can use System Restore in Windows to revert to a point before the high CPU usage problem started. Before you continue, remember that you may lose recent data or changes if you perform a system restore.
Step 1: Open the Start menu, type create a restore point and click on the first result that appears.
2nd step: Under the System Protection tab, click the System Restore button.
Step 3: Select the recommended restore point or choose one yourself by choosing the second option and pressing Next.
From there, follow the on-screen instructions to perform System Restore.
Always under control
Sometimes it is natural for a PC to experience high CPU usage while watching a 4K movie or playing graphics-intensive games on your PC, especially in the absence of a dedicated GPU. But if your computer is constantly showing higher CPU usage in Task Manager then follow the methods mentioned above to investigate and permanently fix the problem.
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