Are you experiencing unusually elevated CPU utilization on your computer, even during idle? Experiencing high CPU utilization during idle periods can be frustrating and may harm your computer’s overall performance.
In this article, we shall delve into the potential reasons for this problem and provide some straightforward solutions to facilitate your understanding of the fundamental reasons for its occurrence.
We will go into detail about how to find the culprits and use effective solutions to cut down on CPU usage and improve the performance of your computer. If you are experiencing sluggish computer performance during idle periods, read on to discover the root cause and potential solutions.
Why Is My CPU Usage So High at Idle?
It is because of outdated chipset drivers, excessive background processes, startup applications, outdated windows, appearance, and performance settings, enabled Windows 10 tips, corrupted files, an enabled runtime broker, and low RAM. High CPU usage always degrades overall performance.
Outdated Chipset Drivers
A chipset driver is a crucial software component that facilitates seamless communication between the operating system and the motherboard’s chipset. The chipset manages various hardware components, including the CPU, memory, and input/output devices.
Outdated chipset drivers may exhibit incomplete compatibility with contemporary operating systems or applications, resulting in conflicts and performance degradation. The absence of this enhancement in legacy drivers can lead to suboptimal utilization of CPU resources, thereby causing elevated CPU utilization levels even during periods of inactivity.
- How To Fix It?
It is imperative to perform a driver update to rectify elevated CPU utilization resulting from outdated chipset drivers. To obtain the most up-to-date driver version corresponding to your particular chipset model and operating system, please visit the manufacturer’s website or employ specialized driver update software.
The Device Manager also enables users to manually update specific drivers. Locate the chipset driver within the Device Manager, right-click on it, and select the “Update driver” option.
Simply initiate the process of updating by selecting the appropriate option to search for updates. The Windows operating system will then endeavor to locate and install the most up-to-date iteration of the driver.
Excessive Background Processes
Operating systems and installed applications often have background services and processes that run continuously to perform various functions. Some of these processes may consume excessive CPU resources, leading to high CPU usage. Identifying and disabling or optimizing resource-intensive background processes can help reduce CPU usage at idle.
- How To Fix It?
The best method to remove the unnecessary processes is via Task Manager. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys together, or right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the context menu.
Click on the “Processes” tab. This tab displays a list of all the processes running on your computer. Look at the list of processes and identify any that consume a significant amount of CPU, memory, or disc resources. Select a process you suspect is unnecessary or causing performance issues and click “End Task.”
Startup applications are programs configured to launch automatically when the operating system starts. Certain startup applications, especially those with high resource requirements, can significantly impact CPU usage. It places a burden on your CPU if you have limited resources. As a result, you will face the issue of high CPU usage.
- How To Fix It?
Go to Task Manager, and then go to the “Startup” tab. Here, you will find a list of all enabled and disabled apps. If there are apps that should be disabled when you start your PC, right-click on them and select “Disable.” In this way, you can disable unnecessary startup apps.
Regular updates to the operating system, such as those offered by Microsoft for Windows, are essential for optimizing the computer’s performance, enhancing its security, and ensuring its stability.
Legacy operating systems frequently lack up-to-date security patches. If you don’t take enough security measures, your computer could be vulnerable to exploits and other malicious attacks, which would use up more CPU. As the software and hardware undergo evolution, it may necessitate the installation of specific drivers for proper functioning.
Older versions of the Windows operating system might be missing a crucial update, which could cause problems with compatibility that could damage the central processing unit.
- How To Fix It?
Ensure that your Windows OS is configured to receive automatic updates. Perform a system check for available updates and proceed with their installation to ensure optimal system performance and up-to-date status. To do this, go to the start menu and search for “Check for updates,” and hit enter. You can run the scan to check if any Windows update is available here.
Appearance and Performance Settings
Windows operating systems provide various appearance and performance settings that can impact CPU usage. These settings are mostly related to Windows options and settings. But these settings constantly use your CPU to keep working.
- How To Fix It?
To fix this issue, open the “Control panel,” search “Appearance and Performance,” and click on the settings under the “System” icon. Now select “Adjust for best performance.” In this way, you can adjust the settings that you need.
Enabled Windows 10 Tips
Windows 10 gives users tips to enhance their experience and helps them discover the new features and functionality of the operating system. Windows 10 tips often provide step-by-step instructions or shortcuts for complex tasks. But these methods use your CPU for the process. That could be a potential source of CPU usage even when idle.
- How To Fix It?
You can turn off these tips to save CPU usage. To do so, open the Start menu by clicking and then click on the “Settings” option, represented by a gear-shaped icon. Once the Settings app is open, go to the “System” category and click it.
Select the “Notifications & actions” option in the System settings in the left pane. Then, scroll down to the right until you see the “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions when using Windows” toggle switch. Just click the switch to turn it off, and it changes from blue (on) to gray (off).
Windows and other OSes frequently execute background processes for file scanning and indexing, enhancing browsing speed. In file corruption, the scanning system may encounter difficulty accurately interpreting and processing the data. Due to problematic files, the CPU is compelled to allocate additional resources, leading to elevated CPU utilization.
- How To Fix It?
Leverage native system utilities and external software solutions to rectify damaged files. Windows users may use the System File Chequer (SFC) or the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool to obstruct system files.
To perform an SFC scan, run the command prompt as an administrator, enter the command “sfc /scannow,” and hit enter. Wait until it scans and repairs the damaged or corrupt files.
RuntimeBroker is a full-fledged Windows service that manages Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application permissions. It ensures that apps only access critical system resources and maintains overall security and integrity.
However, the RuntimeBroker process may sometimes malfunction or encounter synchronization issues, resulting in high CPU usage even during downtime.
- How To Fix It?
You can use the Windows Registry to deal with the high CPU usage caused by the RuntimeBroker process. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type “regedit.exe” and hit Enter. It will launch the Registry Editor. In the Registry Editor, navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TimeBrokerSvc.”
On the right pane, locate the “Start” value. Double-click on “Start” to modify its value. Change the value data to “4” and click OK. It will set the Start value to “Disabled.” Restart your PC to effect the changes.
Low RAM Memory
The CPU is responsible for instruction execution, arithmetic operations, and data flow control. On the other hand, RAM serves as transient storage for actively running applications and data. During idle periods, the CPU utilization of a computer should ideally remain low, indicating that resource-intensive operations are not overtaxing the processing unit.
The RAM utilization should be minimal during idle periods, implying that resource-intensive operations are not actively executable. Insufficient RAM can primarily contribute to high CPU usage at idle. In the event of insufficient memory, the operating system resorts to utilizing the hard disc as virtual memory, owing to the expansion of RAM.
The “paging” or “swapping” technique induces elevated CPU utilization due to the constant data movement between RAM and disc, leading to latency and suboptimal performance.
- How To Fix It?
Increasing the amount of RAM in your system can significantly improve its performance, reducing the need for the system to rely on virtual memory. Upgrading RAM allows more data to be stored in the faster-accessing physical memory, minimizing CPU usage during idle periods.
Is 100% CPU Usage Bad?
Even though a 100% CPU utilization rate indicates that the processor is operating at full capacity, this does not necessarily indicate that the system is in danger; in fact, it is normal for the CPU to operate at its maximum capacity. It won’t affect the performance of your PC.
CPU usage depends on changes based on factors such as system setup, OS, and active software. Variations in CPU utilization, shifting between low and high levels, are common in standard applications.
Idle CPU usage may range from 1-5%, whereas CPU utilization may increase to 70%, 80%, or 100% during resource-intensive activities like video rendering or running complex software.
Such fluctuations are typically deemed normal, and as long as the system remains operational without any problems, high CPU utilization should not be a cause for concern.
Does High Cpu Temperature Affect Cpu Usage?
No, it does not affect you directly. While high CPU temperature and CPU utilization are correlated with system performance, they are not simply interdependent. The CPU temperature has a significant impact on the stability and durability of the CPU, whereas CPU utilization is indicative of the CPU’s performance.
To avert overheating, central processing units (CPUs) are equipped with inherent protective mechanisms that curtail their clock frequencies upon exposure to elevated temperatures. Thermal throttling is a well-known mechanism that curtails the CPU’s performance to dissipate heat and avoid potential damage.
With an increase in temperature, the CPU’s electrical resistance experiences a corresponding increase, leading to a reduction in the flow of electrons and a subsequent decline in overall performance. The presence of this factor may result in decreased processing speeds and diminished productivity.
The CPU usage does not directly impact the CPU temperature. However, it can have an indirect effect on the heat generated. Under conditions of high CPU utilization, the power consumption and thermal output are proportionally increased. Insufficient cooling or ineffective heat dissipation can result in elevated CPU temperatures.
Experiencing high CPU usage during idle periods can be frustrating and negatively impact your computer’s performance. Several potential reasons for this issue include outdated chipset drivers, excessive background processes, startup applications, outdated Windows appearance and performance settings, enabled Windows 10 tips, corrupted files enabled RuntimeBroker, and low RAM.
To address these issues, you can update your chipset drivers to ensure compatibility and optimal utilization of CPU resources. You can also identify and disable resource-intensive background processes through the Task Manager.
Managing startup applications and disabling unnecessary ones can help reduce CPU usage. Keeping your Windows operating system updated with the latest patches and security updates is crucial. Adjusting appearance and performance settings, turning off Windows 10 tips, and repairing any corrupted files can further optimize CPU usage.
Disabling the RuntimeBroker process through the Windows Registry can help alleviate the high CPU usage caused by it. Additionally, upgrading your RAM can improve system performance and reduce reliance on virtual memory, leading to high CPU usage.
While 100% CPU usage is normal during resource-intensive activities, high CPU temperatures can affect CPU performance and stability. CPUs have protective mechanisms, such as thermal throttling, to mitigate overheating risks. Insufficient cooling or heat dissipation can result in elevated CPU temperatures.
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