How to Fix High CPU Usage on Windows 11

Having trouble with high CPU usage on Windows 11?

The proper functioning of your computer’s CPU is essential for smooth performance. When the CPU usage exceeds a certain limit, you will experience all sorts of issues like unexpected shutdown, programs not responding and resulting in frequent crashes, and overall sluggish performance.

Since all your major components, like graphics and RAM, rely on the CPU, your system will lag, which could affect your work experience greatly. But what exactly leads to high CPU usage, you ask? Well, for starters, each application consumes a portion of CPU power.

However, this component can get overloaded due to multiple apps running simultaneously, malware attacks, Windows Services operating in the background, and overconsumption of system resources. But you can fix the high CPU usage on Windows 11 by following this detailed guide.

So let’s get started right away!

1. Inspect the Processes.

The most basic method to reduce CPU usage is to terminate the running processes and discard those consuming a lot of resources. Thankfully, Windows has a utility called Task Manager that allows you to go through all the operating tasks and terminate them with only a single click.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. To begin, right-click on the Start menu and choose Task Manager or press the Shift key + Ctrl + Esc to launch Task Manager directly.
  2. Check the CPU usage percentage for each app in the Processes tab. 
  3. Quit unnecessary apps with high CPU usage by selecting them and clicking on End task.
Task Manager Windows 11

If you’re aware of certain apps that run in the background without any purpose, we recommend you stop them from doing so. Here’s how: 

  1. Press the Windows key + i to open Settings.
  2. Go to the Apps tab and click on Apps & features.
Windows Apps & features settings
  1. Click on the three dots menu icon next to the app you wish to disable and choose Advanced options.
advanced app options Windows 11
  1. Click on the drop-down menu for Background app permissions and choose Never.
Windows background apps permissions

2. Disable Startup Programs.

Some programs would be running in the background even if you never launch them. That’s because they are considered Startup apps that run right after the system boots up. You should disable such apps as they fetch unnecessary CPU data, slowing down your computer.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and choose Task Manager.
  2. When it opens, go to the Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on any program and choose Disable.
disable startup programs

3. Disable Cortana.

Although Cortana, the Microsoft digital assistant, doesn’t interfere with ongoing processes, its CPU consumption can be significant when your system is already running slow. 

Thus, we recommend you disable this feature by following the steps below:

  1. Launch Settings by pressing the Windows key + i.
  2. Then, go to Apps from the left pane.
  3. From the right pane, click on Apps & features.
  4. Scroll down to Cortana and click on the three-dots menu icon next to it.
  5. Choose Advanced options.
  6. Lastly, disable Cortana under Runs at log-in.
disable Cortana Windows 11

4. Disable Superfetch Service. 

The Superfetch service allows programs to load content even before they’re launched. While this feature is obviously for faster performance, it uses high CPU resources, which may affect your system.

Therefore, disable the service by following the steps below:

  1. Firstly, press the Windows key + R to access the Run tool.
  2. Type services.msc in the given field and click on OK.
  3. Scroll through the list of services to locate SysMain.
  4. Once found, right-click on it and select Properties.
Windows Services Log
  1. Click on the drop-down menu for Startup Type and choose Disabled.
High CPU Usage on Windows 11
  1. Click Apply, then OK to save the changes.

Restart your computer afterward, then check if you’ve fixed high CPU usage on Windows 11.

5. Scan for Malware.

If your system has been attacked by malware, it may cause the CPU usage to shoot up from time to time, even when you don’t have many programs operating. You can use Windows Defender to perform a scan on your computer.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Search icon from the taskbar. 
  2. Type ‘windows security’ and launch it from the results.
  3. Once it launches, go to Virus & threat protection.
  4. Then, click on Scan options under the Current threats section.
Virus & threat protection
  1. Choose to run a Full scan.
  2. Finally, click on the Scan now button to initiate the process.
High CPU Usage on Windows 11

6. Allow System to Manage Virtual Memory.

When you enable Virtual Memory Management, your system will no longer freeze up if the physical memory runs out. This secondary memory is used as part of the main memory for faster performance.

Here’s how to enable this feature:

  1. First, launch File Explorer on your computer.
  2. Next, right-click on This PC and choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. On the next window, click on the Advanced system settings link.
  4. Go to the Advanced tab.
  5. Now, click on the Settings button under the Performance section.
Windows System Properties
  1. Then, go to the Advanced tab and click on the Change button under the Virtual memory section.
advanced performance options
  1. There, check the box for Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  2. Also, click on your hard drive and select System managed size.
setup virtual memory on Windows 11
  1. Lastly, click on the OK button.

Afterward, reboot your PC to apply the changes you just made. Check to see if that fixes high CPU usage on Windows 11.

7. Remove Unwanted Programs.

You can also remove unwanted and unnecessary programs to recover the used-up storage on your computer. This reduces resource consumption and CPU usage as well.

Follow the steps below to do it:

  1. To start, click on the Start Menu and choose the Settings app. Alternatively, you may press the Windows key + i on your keyboard for a shortcut.
  2. Now go to the Apps tab from the left pane. 
  3. Then, click on Apps & features on the right pane.
  4. Now, look for the programs you would like to remove. 
  5. Click on the three-dots icon next to it and choose Uninstall.
High CPU Usage on Windows 11
  1. Again, click on the Uninstall button for verification.

Hopefully, this will free up storage and reduce CPU usage on your computer.

That was it! You’ve now made it to the end of our guide on how to fix high CPU usage on Windows 11. For more tips or suggestions, head over to the comment section and help fellow readers out. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 😊


  • Aimen Choudhry

    Aimen Choudhry is an architecture student who has always been fascinated by science. She now finds her therapy researching and writing about the latest technology and the issues that come alongside. Otherwise, you’ll find her playing video games, listening to music, or watching fantasy/sci-fi movies.

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