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Idle Process High CPU

Imagine that you’ve brought up the Windows Task Manager and notice the lion’s share of CPU is being taken up by something called System Idle Process. This could be making your computer run hot, lowering the life of your system.

Though you may become concerned that this process is taking up a lot of your CPU’s processing bandwidth, it’s typically not an issue. In fact, this can be considered normal behavior.

That is until it does become a problem.

Basics of the System Idle Process

Wonder what the System Idle Process is? A simple explanation is that it’s a process that spawns threads when no other threads are scheduled to run. You can think of it as an indicator of how busy (or idle) your computer is.

If a few applications are running, the utilization of this process may be high, resulting in the idle process high CPU issue.

How to Check CPU Utilization

What if you’re running other applications and your computer starts slowing down – yet the Idle Process retains a high CPU utilization? You would want to know why.

In your search for answers, a basic approach would be to open the Windows Task Manager and take a peek at what is running.

Hitting the keyboard buttons CTRL + Shift + ESC brings up the Task Manager, where you can view the processes and services in memory. From here, you can visually check for items that have stopped responding. If you find one, you can right-click on it and choose to End Task.

task manager

You could also go into the application and try to close it from there. Likewise, a reboot of the system is an easy way of clearing everything in one shot.

Googling a specific Process will help you find out what that software is. If you no longer use it, you can uninstall it. Or, try searching for that specific program name + high CPU. There’s a very good chance your CPU can’t support an application, or the application has a bug in its current version that causes a loop that will overload your CPU. It’s more common than you think!

Updating CPU and Chipset drivers

If you haven’t updated your motherboard’s chipset drivers, new software may not be able to interact with it properly. If you notice a device, program, or operating system has suddenly failed or no longer works as expected, you may need to update your drivers.

Windows Can Try to Update the Drivers

Knowing that the O/S doesn’t always find the right driver, you may be hesitant even to grant Windows the effort. Still, give it a try.

Use the search box on the taskbar to find and open the Device Manager. Upon doing so, find the offending device, right-click and choose to update the driver. Go with the option to let Windows search for it automatically.

Seek a Driver the Old Fashioned Way

Not all drivers are created equal, nor are they equally easy to find.

In your quest for the correct driver, you’ll need details about the hardware to ensure the right one is found. These details include manufacturer, model, and even serial number.

Once (or if) you find the driver, download it. You can go back to the Device Manager and choose to install it manually.

Let Automated Software Do the Work for You

There are always options that could have made life easier.

Software, such as Driver Support, allows the automation of keeping drivers current. Using it can save time and avoid problems down the line.

Other Scenarios to Consider

While drivers can cause many issues, there are other factors to consider.

Sometimes other software applications will spike the CPU. This may be due to a program that has become unresponsive. It could also be related to code that opens objects or resources but doesn’t clean them up from memory once done with them.

Whether a faulty application or memory leak, simply shutting down the offending software can be the solution. If issues persist, contact the manufacturer for guidance.

Driver Support Can Help Fix Idle Process High CPU

There are many scenarios where drivers will end up being the culprit – some more obvious than others. It’s comforting to know that there is a solution that can work for you in the background.

Since 1996, users have trusted Driver Support to help ease their pain when it comes to finding drivers for misbehaving devices.