Windows 10 may generally be an improvement over older versions. But,1 at the same time, it’s not like it doesn’t have its own issues as well. One of them is the 100% disk usage that numerous users seem to be experiencing.
This problem seems to be more common for HDD users and once it happens, it’ll make your PC unbearably slow. There are quite a lot of different causes for this issue and also a lot of different fixes.
So, without wasting any more time, let us get right to it!
1: Track Down the Culprit
Since there are a lot of things that may be causing the 100% disk usage, the very first thing that you should do is track down the culprit. If you can tell what it is that causes the issue, you’ve got the option of skipping through most of our solutions and using the right one immediately without wasting any time.
The easiest way to do that is by using Windows’ task manager. Here’s how:
- Right-click on Windows’ dock (Very bottom of the screen)
- Select “Task manager”
- Click on the “Disk” section so that an arrow that points down comes up (This means that you’re narrowing down apps by increased disk usage)
- And now look at what it is that’s causing your drive to work at full throttle all the time
In the above example, we can see that Windows’ Antimalware is the one that’s responsible for our high-disk usage. If you’re experiencing something similar, then head over to our “Uninstall/pause any security programs” section.
Do keep in mind that one of the reasons that this doesn’t result in 100% disk usage is due to the fast SSD that our PC uses. If we were to use a mechanical hard drive instead, chances are that it would hit 100% immediately.
After all, traditional hard drives use mechanical parts that need to physically move around in order to access different small files across the platter. And that’s one of the main reasons that certain apps may end up maxing out your drive usage very easily – regardless of the OS.
2: Uninstall/Pause Any Security Programs
While we’re on the topic of security programs, if you noticed that it’s an Anti-Malware or an Antivirus that’s causing the damage, then you can either temporarily pause it or permanently uninstall it.
The process of pausing an Antivirus will differ from program to program. Generally, you should be able to do it by opening the hidden apps (Arrow that’s pointing up at the lower right part of the screen), right-clicking on the Antivirus app, and selecting “Disable” or “Pause” – depending on what the program says.
If you can’t find that option, refer to Google or the program’s customer support/documentation. Again, the process differs from program to program. So, there’s no universal method.
Thankfully, there is at least a universal method for uninstalling programs. To do so:
- Click on the Windows icon (Lower left part of the screen)
- Go to Settings (Gear icon)
- Find the security program that’s using your disk
- Click on it
- Then select “Uninstall”
The uninstall process may take a while depending on how powerful your CPU is and whether you’re using an SSD or not. The size of the Antivirus itself plays a massive role as well.
If you’re sure that the Antivirus was the cause of the 100% disk usage, then this should fix it. If you absolutely need a security program, then do keep in mind that there is the option of setting it up so that it won’t scan for viruses on specific times that you’re using the PC. And thus, the 100% disk usage issue should be eliminated without actually uninstalling the Antivirus.
3: Fix 100% Disk Usage by Disabling Windows Search
Windows Search needs to crawl through your disk for all the information that it needs. And while that’s not exactly an issue for decent builds, budget or entry-level computers may end up becoming much slower due to Windows Search.
If you find out that this is the case for you, try disabling Windows Search. You’ll lose quick access to most of the files on the computer. But, that’s better than having a super slow PC in the first place.
First things first, you should try temporarily disabling Windows Search to make sure that it’s the one to blame for the 100% disk usage. To do that:
- On your keyboard, hit the Windows button along with the “X” button at the same time
- Select “Command Prompt (Admin)
- Click on “Yes” for the UAC (User Account Control)
- And once you are in the command prompt, type net.exe stop “Windows search”
If this ends up fixing your problem, then there is almost no doubt that Windows Search is the one to blame and you should consider permanently disabling it. And if that doesn’t sound like a good idea, then you should at the very least upgrade to a good SSD.
Otherwise, here’s how to permanently disable Windows Search:
- On your keyboard, hit the Windows button and the “R” key at the same time
- A bar will come up. Type services.msc on it
- Scroll down to Windows Search and double-click on it
- Click on Startup type
- Select Disabled
- Hit OK
- Reboot (Or stop the service on the spot
- And that’s about it
If your disk is back to normal usage, then there is no doubt that Windows Search was the one to blame.
4: Perform an Anti-Malware Scan
Sometimes, the 100% disk usage issue isn’t caused by normal apps, but by malware instead. That’s why we strongly recommend performing an Anti-Malware scan as well.
There are plenty of tools that can help you do that. But, one of the most popular and effective ones is Malwarebytes. It’s completely free to use. So, do definitely give it a try.
All you have to do is:
- Download Malwarebytes from its official website
- Go through with the installation process (The program will provide you with instructions)
- And perform a full scan
The whole process may end up taking some time. But, that’s entirely going to depend on how fast your computer is, how many files there are to be scanned, how large the drive is, how fast it is, etc. So, be patient.
Still Experiencing the 100% Disk Usage Issue?
Those were the most popular solutions to the above-mentioned issue. If there’s nothing that worked, then here are a few other fixes of miscellaneous nature that are worth a try:
- Reboot the computer: It’s the traditional “Have you tried turning it off and on” approach. It’s a very simple fix that works surprisingly often
- Perform a factory reset: Depending on the kind of reset that you’ll perform, this will end up deleting a few of your files. But, it’ll also bring your computer back to a brand-new like state
- Switch your power plan from “Balanced” or “Power Saving” to “High performance”
- Make sure that the drive itself isn’t faulty: Some tools like
- Update Windows to the latest version
- Disable Windows’ Superfetch: It’s the exact same process with the Windows Search that we described in detail
And if nothing works, then we’re really out of options here. If you discovered something which worked and that we haven’t mentioned in this list, then make sure to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section.