100% disk usage can cause your computer to lag significantly and occasional freezing. This problem may characterize a loud wheeze from your computer’s fan which is annoying. It is normal to experience this immediately when the computer is powered on. But if this activity does not recede after 5-10 minutes, its calls for a fix.
Stopping applications causing this problem using the Task Manager does not always fix the problem. The application just pops up again and again. At times when attempting to stop a process, you will receive an intimidating message “Ending this process will cause Windows to become unusable or shut down” so you just drawback.
We have brought you some easy fix that will definitely end your whine. If for some reason a particular solution does not work, retrace back the steps and undo the changes then go to the next solution.
11 simple fixes for 100% disk usage on Windows 10
1. Create a custom power plan
This fix involves switching power plan to High Performance. It does work pretty well although the operating state of your computer will consume more energy.
- Start off by right-clicking the battery icon and select “Power Options”.
- While in the control panel window, select the “Create a power plan” option.
- Another window will appear which lets you create a custom power plan. First off choose “High performance” by checking the radio button.
- Type in the name of your custom plan on the input field below and click on the “next” button.
- Adjust the custom settings for your plan according to your preference. These are just power saving options. You can leave them as they are. When you are done, click the “Create” button.
- Now the power plan will be created and selected. If you wish you can delete it or switch to the previous plan. Even without restarting your computer, you will notice the disk usage percentage dropping. If not proceed to the next solution.
2. Disable Windows search
This is a Windows service that indexes everything in your computer whether its applications, files, processes or folders for easy access. Look at it this way, if your hard drive is jam-packed with a lot of stuff that needs indexing, then this service can cause too much activity on it. Although disabling windows search will cause your computer to slow down a bit.
- Type in “services” on the search bar then select the first result. Alternatively, press the Windows key + R and type in “services.msc” then hit Enter.
- A new window should open showing you a list of all the services in your system. Scroll down and look for “Windows search”.
- Right-click on the “Windows search” process and select the “properties” option.
- The properties dialog box will appear. Where is says “Startup type”, click the dropdown arrow then choose “Disabled”. Click “Apply” then the “ok” button.
- Now go ahead and restart your computer and check if the disk usage is back to normal. If not, proceed to the next solution.
Your computer is likely to experience 100% disk usage if you are running on a new Windows 10 install and the latest update has not yet been pushed to your system. This means the new install is running on old drivers or some are missing. To update:
- Go to the settings menu. You can find it at the start menu or by typing in “search” on the search bar.
- While on the settings menu, select “Update & Security”.
- Now go ahead and hit the “Check for updates” button. During this step, you will need an internet connection. If the updates are available, follow the onscreen prompts carefully to accept and download. You will need to restart your computer to install the updates.
- You can as well use third party driver installers such as Snappy Driver Installer. If this fix didn’t work after restart, proceed to the next solution.
4. Disable Superfetch
SuperFetch is a memory management process for windows. Its work is to transfer frequently accessed application data from the hard drive and into the RAM. This is to ensure easy access rather than accessing the data directly from the slow hard drive. First, we will test if SuperFetch is the cause of the problem then disable it.
- Go to the search bar and type in “cmd”.
- Right-click on Command Prompt then select “Run as administrator”. Click the “yes” button if the user control dialog appears.
- In the command prompt window, type in “exe stop superfetch” as shown in the screenshot below. Go ahead and hit Enter. This will temporarily stop SuperFetch service. Check the Task Manager to see if the usage percentage is receding. If it worked, proceed to the next steps to disable permanently.
- Type in “services” on the search bar and select the first option.
- Scroll down the services list and locate “Superfetch”.
- Right-click on Superfetch then select “Properties”.
- While in the properties dialog box, click the drop-down right next to Startup type. Then select “Disabled”. Now click “Apply” then followed by the “ok” button to save changes.
- Restart your computer and check if this problem is solved. Proceed to the next solution if it’s not.
5. Reset virtual memory
Virtual memory is a function of the MMU (Memory Management Unit) which extends address space in primary storage (RAM) as well as the inactive memory in the hard drive. Instead of loading all application data into the RAM, some of it is loaded in the HDD to compensate for memory shortage.
Here is how to reset virtual memory:
- Go to the search bar and type in “control panel” then choose the first result.
- While in the control panel window, click on “System and Security”.
- Next, you should see a list of System and Security options. Go ahead and select “System”.
- On the far right, click on “Advanced system settings”.
- System properties dialog box will pop up. Make sure you are currently on the “Advanced” tab. Then under “performance”, click on the “Settings” button.
- Another dialog box for “performance options” should appear. Switch to the Advanced tab. Right under virtual memory, click on the “change” button.
- Next, click on the checkbox at the top to uncheck automatic paging management. Make sure the C drive is selected by the blue bar since it’s where the operating system is installed. If not, select the relevant partition. Now check the radio button next to custom size. Two input fields will be revealed which allow you to input custom memory size in MBs.
- For initial size: Input the recommended size which is displayed at the bottom of the dialog box. This figure may vary depending on your system. In my case, it is 1396 MB.
- For maximum size: Input 1.5 times the size of your RAM in MBs. 1GB of RAM is usually equal to 1024 MB. In my case, since I have 4GB, it will be 4096 x 1.5 = 6144. Do the math depending on the corresponding RAM size on your system.
- When done, click the “set” button followed by the “ok” button. A prompt box will appear just click “ok”.
- You should be back to the Properties options dialog. Go ahead and click on the “apply” button followed by the “ok” button.
- Click “ok” on the subsequent dialog box. You will then be prompted to restart your computer in order to apply the changes. Restart and check if the issue if fixed.
6. Tune MSI registry for AHCI controller
Note: For computers running on Solid State drives (SSD)
A known fault exists with SSDs operating on some AHCI PCIe (Advanced Host Controller Interface PCI-Express) models which cause unresponsive read & write requests on the hard drive. The other parameters present for this to happen are; if your system is running on the StorAHCI.sys driver while the MSI (Message Signaled Interrupt) mode is enabled. This is suspected to be a firmware incompatibility issue. Disabling MSI mode solves this problem. We will do that via the registry.
- Open Device Manager. You can simply find it by using the search bar.
- Look for IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers and expand it. Right-click on “Standard SATA AHCI Controller” then select “properties”.
- Select the Driver tab and click on the “details” button.
- On the next dialog box, check whether storahci.sys is listed in the file path. If it is, then your system is running StorAHCI.sys driver.
- Close the current dialog and go back to the controller properties dialog box and select the Details tab. Expand the property drop-down and select “Device instance path”. Take note of the value that appears. You can take a screenshot or copy & paste to a text document. This will help locate the registry files.
- Next is to go to the registry editor. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog. Then type in “regedit” and hit Enter.
- Once in the registry window, expand the items in the following sequence;
- Look for the PCI value that corresponds to the one you previously checked
- Device Parameters
- Interrupt Management
- On the right of the window, double click on “MSISupported” and change value data to 0. Then click the “ok” button.
- Go ahead and restart your computer and check if the issue has been fixed.
7. Tweak google chrome
If you realize that disk usage rises to 100% especially when using google chrome, then it might be the problem. This is a trial and error solution. Here is how you can tweak some settings for Google Chrome:
- Open google chrome and go to settings. Then expand the advanced options.
- Scroll down and locate “system”. Deactivate background activity as well as hardware acceleration.
- Close Google Chrome and launch again.
- If it does not work, go to “tools”, then “extensions”. A browser extension may be causing unwanted activity. Go ahead and remove them and check whether the situation has changed. If the problem still persists, just change to an alternative browser.
8. Run CHKDSK
CHKDSK is an inbuilt Windows utility that checks the integrity of your hard drive and file system. Over time, the disk may get damaged therefore compromising its efficiency. CHKDSK utility is able to scan for these errors as well as resolve them.
Here is how to run CHKDSK in Windows 10:
- Open the windows file explorer.
- You should see all the drive partitions. Go ahead and right-click on the C drive partition and select “Properties”.
- A properties dialog box should appear. Select the “Tools” tab. Right under Error checking, click on the “check” button.
- Proceed with the scan even when the prompt box says you don’t need to scan. Click on “Scan drive”.
- Wait for the scan to complete. Proceed with the countermeasures if errors are found. Do this for all drive partitions.
9. Turn off automatic windows update
Windows update on many occasions causes high disk usage. WUASERV otherwise known as Windows update service is the one responsible for detecting, download, and installation of windows update. It works with other services like WMI and Windows installer to modify the system. By default, its activity is invoked automatically.
Here is how to disable automatic Windows update:
- Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Go ahead and type in “services.msc” and hit enter.
- The services list should now pop up. Scroll down and locate “Windows update”. Right-click on it and select properties.
- Change the startup type to “disabled”. Hit the “apply” button followed by the “ok” button to save the changes.
- Restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.
10. Grant skype write permission
When Skype constantly tries to write on the hard disk without write permission it can result in 100% disk usage. To fix this:
- Open the C drive and go this directory: Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\
- Right-click on Skype then select “properties”.
- The properties dialog box for skype will appear. Switch to the “security” tab and click on the “edit” button.
- A permissions dialog box should appear. Click on “ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES” and then tap on the checkbox juxtaposed to “Write” permission. This will grant write permission to skype. Click the “Apply” button followed by the “ok” button.
11: Temporarily disable malware protection
When your antivirus is scanning for malware in your system, it is often accompanied by high disk usage. Especially when the HDD is full of stuff. If you are using third-party antivirus software, google how you can disable it then see if it resolves the problem.