Lagging or frozen system is one of regular issues Windows 10 computers experience from time to time. If you experience slow response time when navigating or running an application in Windows 10, one of the possible cause could be the disk utilization has reached 100%. In this article, we will explain how to fix 100% disk usage issue and work in normal mode.
Monitoring Disk Usage Issues in Task Manager
The Windows Task Manager is an important tool that can help you monitor several metrics including disk usage. You can find out whether the disk is under maximum load from the Windows Task Manager. In order to check the disk usage in Windows 10:
- Right-click on the taskbar and select “Task manager” from the resulting menu.
- Under the “Processes” tab, check the percentage at the top of the “Disk” column.
If the disk is fully utilized, you can try the following solutions to fix the problem.
1. Restart Your Computer
Restarting your computer is a solution to a myriad of problems in Windows 10 and could fix the 100% disk usage problem as well.
- Click the Windows Start button or press the “Win” key on the keyboard.
- Click the power icon, select the “Restart” option, and wait for the computer to shut down and power on.
2. Check for and Install Windows 10 Updates
Microsoft releases regular updates to help keep your device running securely and smoothly. Thus, updating your Windows 10 can resolve some mysterious problems with your computer system and improve overall performance.
- Click the start button and select the gear icon or press “Win + I” keys to open the settings app.
- Navigate through “Update & Security > Windows Update” settings.
- Check for new updates and if available install them.
- You may have to restart your PC to install some of the updates.
If updating Windows OS brought some trouble, you can easily rollback to previous working version.
3. Disable Windows Features to Resolve 100% Usage Issue
Some Windows features may be the reason behind maxed disk utilization. You can disable such features to minimize the disk load.
3.1. Disable Windows 10 Search
Windows Search allows users to find applications or files on their computer easily but it may overwhelm the system disk even when not in use. To stop the Search service in Windows 10:
- Search for ‘Command Prompt’ and open the utility with the Admin option.
- Type the following command ‘net.exe stop “Windows search”’ and then hit the Enter button.
- This will temporarily stop the search functionality until the system restarts. If this resolves the 100% disk usage issue, proceed to disable Windows Search service permanently.
- Press the “Win + R” keys and type “services.msc” and hit enter.
- Scroll down the service window to locate the “Windows Search” service. Double-click on the entry to open its properties.
- Select “Disable” under the “Startup type” and then click the “Ok” button to save the changes.
3.2. Disable the Superfetch / SysMain Feature
- To disable the feature temporarily, open the Command Prompt in Admin option, type the command “net.exe stop superfetch/ SysMain” and press enter.
- Check if the 100% disk utilization problem has been fixed and if yes, disable the Superfetch service permanently.
- To do so, repeat the process in step one to open the Windows Services.
- Look for the Superfetch / SysMain service on the list and double-click it to open Properties.
- Expand the “Startup type” options, select “Disable” and then click “Ok” to save the changes.
4. Check for and Remove Malware and Virus
Malware and virus can cause various problems to your Windows 10 PC and could be the reason behind the disk overload. Detecting and removing any threat is always healthy for your system and can fix the 100% disk usage issue.
- Go to the Windows 10 “Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security” and click the “Open Windows Security” button to open the in-built Windows Defender.
- On the resulting window, click the “Virus & threat protection” option.
- Click the “Quick scan” button and give it time to scan for malware and virus threats.
- This may take some time as your system is already overloaded. Once the threats have been detected, select “Remove” under the “Actions.”
- You can also use a free or paid third party security tool, if you have one installed, to detect and remove malware from your PC.
5. Reset the Virtual Memory
Virtual Memory is a part of the HDD used as an extension of the computer memory when the RAM has not enough space to perform a task. The following steps show you how to reset your computer virtual memory.
- Press the “Win + Pause/Break” keys on the keyboard to open the system information window.
- Click the “Advanced system settings” option on the left panel to open the “System Properties.”
- Under the “Advanced” tab, click the “Settings” button in the “Performance” section.
- On the resulting popup window, go to the “Advanced” tab and under the “Virtual memory” section, click the “Change” button.
- Uncheck the box at the top of the window that appears and check the “Custom size” option.
- Enter the type the initial and maximum size in the text boxes provided in MBs.
- Note that the maximum size should be approximately 1.5 times the size of the physical RAM.
- Once you have adjusted the virtual memory, click the “Set” and then “Ok” button to keep the settings.
6. Adjust the Power Options
- Navigate to “Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options” and click the “Change plan settings” link next to the active plan.
- On the resulting window, click the link to change advanced power settings.
- Another popup window will appear. Click the arrow to change the plan from “Balanced” to “High Performance”.
- Click “Ok” and then “Apply” to save the settings.
7. Remove Unwanted Junk Files from Your Computer
If your computer is running out of space, you are likely to experience high disk usage issues. This may be caused by too many installed applications, temporary files and other junks in the storage. Creating more space could be enough to solve the disk over utilization problem.
7.1. Close Unused and Uninstall Unnecessary Applications
If you are running many applications at the same time, close the ones that are not in use.
- Open the “Windows settings > Apps & features.”
- Scroll down the list of installed apps to find an app that you no longer need.
- Click the app and select the “Uninstall” options.
7.2. Free Up HDD Space
- Open the Windows settings and go to “System” settings.
- Select “Storage” on the left panel and click “Temporary files”.
- Check the boxes for the categories you want to clean up and click the “Remove files” button at the top.
7.3. Delete Windows Temporary files
- Press the “Win + R” keys to open the run utility, type ‘temp’ and press enter.
- This will open the Windows temporary files in file explorer.
- Select all the files and press the “Shift + Del” buttons to delete the files permanently. If some files cannot be deleted, you can skip them.
8. Check and Fix Disk Errors
If none of the above solutions works, defects on your computer hard disk could be responsible for the high disk usage issue.
8.1. Run the Windows Disk Check Tool
- Open the Windows file explorer and click “This PC.”
- Right click on the HDD and select “Properties” from the context menu.
- Go to the “Tools” tab and under the “Error checking” section click the “Check” button.
- Click “Scan drive” when prompted and let Windows check for errors.
8.2. Run Disk Check in Command Prompt
- Search for “Command Prompt” and select the option to run as Admin.
- Type the command ‘chkdsk C: /f /r /x’ and hit the enter key. Note that ‘C’ is the label of the target disk.
- Check the results and apply any suggested fixes.
9. Perform a Clean Boot
Windows 10 Clean Boot is a diagnostic feature used to troubleshoot system issues. It boots Windows with minimal drivers and programs to determine whether a background process is the cause of the system performance problem.
- Press the “Win + R” keys, type ‘msconfig’ and press enter to open the system configuration window.
- Under the general tab, uncheck the “Load startup items” box in the “Selective startup” section.
- Open the “Services” tab; check the box to hide Microsoft services and then click “Disable all”.
- Click “Ok” to save the changes and restart your computer.
Your computer disk should never be at 100% utilization. If this is the case, there must be a reason behind the problem and you need to resolve it to avoid the frustration of a slow or freezing system. Fortunately, the above will deal with these causes and reduce the disk usage hence improve the system performance. If all the methods fail to resolve the issue, it is advisable to reinstall the Windows afresh or replace your computer hard disk.