If you’re seeing the CPU usage in Task Manager going as high as 100%, it’s definitely not a good sign.

100% of CPU usage can mean that your computer is lagging, freezing, your games are crashing, and hardware components overheating, which is clearly seen via the loud fan, trying to cool your computer down.

But don’t worry, as long as the CPU 100% usage issue is not caused by hardware problems, there are some common fixes that we can try:

  1. Reboot your computer
  2. Close the offending process
  3. Update your CPU drivers
  4. Check for Windows update
  5. Update BIOS
  6. Change your power plan
  7. Scan for malware
  8. Upgrade your hardware

1. Reboot your computer

Performing a reboot to your computer is always recommended when high CPU usage occurs. It can clear out temporary files and resolve slowdown in long-running programs.

But before you restart your computer, remember to save your files and other work.

2. Close the offending process

When you find out a CPU-intensive program in Task Manager, you can close it and see if CPU usage gets lower. Sometimes even after you restart your computer, the program can be running without your knowledge. You can change the Startup settings in Task Manager to get it resolved.

To shut down a program:

  1. On your keyboard, press Ctrl, Shift, and Esc together to open Task Manager. Click More details at the bottom to reveal background Windows processes.
  2. Click the CPU column to sort the list by CPU usage.
  3. Select the programs that you aren’t using and click the End task button at the bottom right. And if you find out a program that is using up too much CPU, open that program and save your work, then come back to Task Manager and select it to end the task.

(Please note that closing some important processes such as explorer.exe or winlogon.exe is NOT a top priority, as they manage some important functions on your computer.)

To disable a startup program:

  1. On your keyboard, press Ctrl, Shift, and Esc together to open Task Manager.
  2. Click the Startup tab in the top menu bar, and check the program’s startup status. If it’s enabled, select it and click the Disable button at the bottom right.
  3. Restart your computer for changes to take effect.

You can always track your CPU usage through Task Manager. And if it fails to resolve the 100% CPU usage issue, move on to the next tip.

3. Update your CPU driver

To resolve the high CPU usage issue, one of the first things you should do is to update your CPU driver, since an up-to-date CPU driver always ensures the best gaming performance and fewer bugs.

To update your CPU driver, here’s what you can do (please note that the following screenshots are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well):

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Processors. Then right-click your CPU driver and click Update driver (the name of the device can be different on your computer).
  3. Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
  5. When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
  6. Then check and see if the problem is fixed.

If Windows says that it’s already found the latest driver for you, so no newer drivers are found, then you should consider updating your CPU driver in a different way with the help of Driver Techie.

Its ever-growing driver database allows you to always have access to the latest device drivers that you need. More importantly, Driver Techie simplifies the driver update process, so all it takes is just 3 clicks (for Pro users), and all your drivers are updated.

To use Driver Techie to find you the latest drivers:

  1. Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
  2. Click Scan Now.
  3. After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All. Then all your drivers will be updated automatically without you having to do anything else.

Please note that Update All is available for Pro subscribers only, otherwise, you can only manually update the driver one at a time. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.

If you’re a Pro user of Driver Techie, and need our technical support to help with the 100% CPU usage problem, please feel free to contact <support@drivertechie.com>.

4. Check for Windows update

Windows update is another tool to update some critical drivers. It helps improve the overall performance of your computer. To do so:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and I together to Windows Settings. Click the Update & Security button.
  2. Click the Check for updates button.
  3. Once updated, restart your computer for changes to take effect.

Check if the problem persists. If so, move on to the next fix.

5. Update BIOS

In rare situations, updating your BIOS version can resolve this high CPU usage issue.

You can use the utility provided by the motherboard manufacturer, or manually visit the official manufacturer’s website and navigate to the Support page for available BIOS updates. (Please note that updating BIOS doesn’t improve performance for your computer and may cause new issues, but it’s a method to identify bugs that cause the 100% CPU usage problem.)

You may need your motherboard info to download the updates from the website. please do the following if necessary:

  1. In the search box, type System Information and hit Enter.
  2. In the System Summary, check the System Manufacturer, System Model, and BIOS Version/Date fields.
  3. Once you find your BIOS version number, go to the manufacturer’s website (for example, the Lenovo support website (support.lenovo.com)) and check that it’s up-to-date. If not, download and install the new BIOS version, reboot your computer, and check Task Manager again to see if the issue persists.

6. Change your power plan

A power saver plan may slow down the speed of your CPU and reduces your computer’s performance. You can try selecting another plan to resolve the high CPU usage problem. To do so:

  1. In the search box, type edit power plan and hit Enter.
  2. In the address bar, click Power Options.
  3. Click the Show additional plans arrow to expand it, and you will see the High Performance plan that favors your computer’s performance but uses more energy. Select it and close the window.

Wait a few seconds for changes to take effect and then check to see if the problem is resolved.

7. Scan for malware

If the CPU usage still climbs up to 100% after you’ve tried the methods we recommended so far, then you need to consider the possibility of malware or virus infections.

To check this, run an anti-virus program and do a full scan on your PC. Otherwise, you can run the Windows Security app to do so.

  1. In the search box, type Windows Security and hit Enter.
  2. From the left menu bar, select the shield icon to open the Virus & Threat Protection page. Then click the Quick scan button.

8. Upgrade your hardware

If the problem persists after you scanned for malware and nothing was found, then there is still a possibility that your hardware may be too old or damaged. In this case, most of your programs don’t run perfectly, CPU usage always gets high, and your computer has extremely slow performance. To resolve this, you need to seek help from your manufacturer to either upgrade your hardware or just purchase a new computer.

So these are all the tips we recommend to resolve the 100% CPU usage issue. If you have found other solutions, please let us know in the comment below.