Windows 10 100% disk usage in Task Manager

One problem in Windows 10, more often than in previous versions of the OS, is Disk loading at 100% in the task manager and, as a result, noticeable system crashes. Most often, these are simply system or driver errors and not the work of something malicious, but other options are possible.

This guide explains in detail why 100% disk usage occurs in Windows 10 and what to do in this case to fix the problem.

The system slows down, and the task manager shows disk usage at 100%. It is almost impossible to work productively in such a situation. To correct the case, you must first understand what is causing the problem.

It is necessary to arrange the processes according to the degree of influence on the system and determine which of them is the most resource-intensive to understand the cause of the load on the hard drive.

To do this, click Disk in Task Manager until the arrow points down.

After that, you can see which process uses disk resources more than others and the hard drive does not work correctly.

100% disk loading in Windows 10: what to do?

There are quite a few processes that can be causing this problem. After all, there is quite a lot of resource-intensive software, and in the bag, even simple programs can seriously load the system.

And to fix it, you can use different methods. Let’s look at the most common ones. To do this, we divide them into groups and study each separately:

  • Failure of internal Windows services.
  • Disk problems.
  • Active use of the swap file.
  • Operation of resource-intensive applications.
  • Malware.

It would help to create a system restore point before making any changes.

Windows internal services have failed

Windows services manage all processes in the operating system. These services can start automatically when the computer is turned on and also ensure the operation of third-party programs. Since a specific service is responsible for the operation of this or that application, the system may begin to fail if it does not work correctly. Incorrect operation of services such as SysMain (Intelligent cache), Windows Search, Windows update service, and backup service is the most common causes of problematic drive congestion.

Let’s consider these services, where they are located, and how they can be turned off.

Before turning off certain services, familiarize yourself with what this service is responsible for and what the consequences will be if you turn it off.


The SysMain service (Intelligent Cache) detects which programs are launched most often, marks them as frequently used, and loads them into virtual memory in advance. Thus, this service periodically accesses disk resources and can cause them to load.

To disable it, you need:

  • Using the Win + R key combination, open the Run window, and enter services.MSC. 100% disk loading in Windows 10: what to do? In the list of services, you can see which services are currently active, and you can read their description.
  • In this list, find SysMain, right-click on it and go to Properties. 
  • Then, click Stop to disable it in the Status line and select Disabled in the Startup type.

Windows Search

Windows Search is a service that enables system users to find the necessary documents and files quickly. To do this, it periodically performs background checks on the content of the user’s computer. The service uses a file indexing system for a quick search, allowing it to load the hard drive to the limit.

You must perform the same procedure as disabling the SysMain service to disable it:

  • Open the running services window using Run.
  • Stop and change the Startup type to Disabled.

Windows Update Service

The Windows update service allows developers to improve an already operating system – increase security, optimize processes, and add new functions. Because the Windows operating system gives a high priority to the operation of this service, other programs are allocated fewer resources during the system update process and may slow down their work. But if you need resource-intensive programs to work, their parallel use with an active update process can cause the maximum use of disk resources.

For the update process not to interfere with the daily use of the computer, you can set a manual check for updates. Completely disabling updates for security reasons is strongly not recommended.

For this, we also use the familiar window with a list of services. Only this time, we find the Windows Update service.

And assign it the Startup Type – Manual.

Now, the next time you need to check for updates, you can click the Check for updates icon in Windows Update. And if they are found, install them at the appropriate time.

Backup service

The backup service is an operating system program. With the help of archiving tools, it creates backup copies of user information. This is necessary to restore the system if a critical error or virus infection has occurred. Creating backups is a very resource-intensive process and can cause a significant load on disk usage.

To change the parameters of this service and make it work when it does not inconvenience us, you need to do the following:

  • From the Windows Update and Protection options, you need to go to Backup and then Backup and Restore.
  • Then go to Configure Backup.
  • Select the archiving location where the backup copy will be stored and check the box Choose yourself.
  • Choose which specific partitions need to be archived and set the appropriate schedule for this process before clicking the Save settings button and starting the Backup.

If you can see in the task manager that another service caused 100% loading of Windows, then, by analogy, you can disable any of them through the list of services. But it is necessary to understand that this is a temporary solution. If you may need this service for work in the future, it is required to analyze in more detail what caused its failure and restore the system’s normal functioning.

Sometimes, you need to restart the computer to disable services altogether and make changes to the system.

Disk problems

The reason for the long loading of the hard drive in idle mode may be the hardware of the computer or problems due to its interaction with other system components. The most common reasons are physical damage to the hard drive, conflict or lack of drivers for the hard drive to work with Windows, and high disk fragmentation.

Physical damage to the hard drive

When physical defects appear, the performance of the drive is significantly reduced. Winchester can no longer process the data that the system gives it at the same speed. Due to this, the load on the DiskDisk increases significantly.

To check the DiskDisk, you can use the built-in chkdsk.exe command.

  • Using the Win + X hotkey combination, we launch Windows PowerShell on behalf of the administrator.
  • Enter the command chkdsk /? and press Enter. Parameter /? allows us to see all available validation methods. We are interested in the keys / F and / R.
  • Enter chkdsk (the DiskDisk we want to check) in the command line: / f / r
  • We confirm the command by pressing the y key and Enter, after which we restart the computer, and the check begins.

If the assessment reveals terrible sectors, you must start the recovery process using the same command or third-party applications such as Victoria and MHDD.

If restoring the damaged sectors did not help, you must replace the hard DiskDisk.

Lack of drivers

Many users who reinstall Windows themselves, as a rule, ignore the installation of SATA AHCI-type drivers. In most cases, the driver built into Windows is enough for the correct operation of the DiskDisk. But, if after disabling the services, the problem with disk loading and slow system operation continues, try to install or update this driver.

To check the presence of the SATA AHCI type driver, you need to look at its name in the device manager.

  • We also go to Run and use the devmgmt.msc command.
  • The name – “Standard SATA AHCI controller” means the system has a built-in windows driver installed. To install the necessary original driver, visit the iron manufacturer’s website and download it from there.
  • The official driver must ensure the correct operation of the hard drive.

Update the computer configuration

Updating the computer configuration sometimes also causes incorrect operation of the hard drive. It is especially relevant for cases involving the purchase of a new medium.

In this situation, installing the drivers did not solve the problem. You can try to flash the Bios to a newer version or reset its settings.

Fragmentation of the hard drive

Fragmentation is the process of logically dividing files. If the system is highly fragmented, it needs more time to collect information and work with it, and the load on the DiskDisk increases accordingly.

Defragmentation is used to reduce fragmentation. Parts of a partitioned file are moved to be located in adjacent areas on the Disk.

To start the defragmentation program, you must go to the Properties of the local Disk; in the Tools tab, select Optimize.

Using these recommendations will help solve the problem of incorrect operation of the DiskDisk in the system, both when installing new equipment and when malfunctions occur with the already functioning system.

Active use of the paging file

The operating system starts actively using the paging file when it senses a shortage of physical RAM. Windows partially placed programs and services open in the background but are not being used now. Such active work with the swap file can seriously load the hard drive.

You can see how much the swap file is downloaded using standard Windows tools. Using the Task Manager, go to the Resource Monitor, then click on the “Memory” icon; you can see how much of the swap file (Available) is currently being used.

If this indicator is constantly on the high bar, it is necessary to stop the resource-intensive application to unload the swap file. Or, if you need to use more RAM for your work, the best solution is to purchase additional memory kits. This will take the load off the DiskDisk when accessing the paging file.

Operation of resource-intensive applications

Using such resource-intensive programs as Torrent or applications for synchronization with cloud services can put a heavy load on the hard drive during their active operation.

You can also use Task Manager to find out which program is heavily loading the hard drive. 

It is visible how downloading and distributing torrent files puts a load on the hard drive. The same result will be the moment when the application on the desktop will be synchronized with the cloud. Examples can be listed for a long time, but the principle of action is the same.

During active work with the computer, when extensive system resources are required, disable all unnecessary programs. Downloading, torrenting, and syncing are best continued when the computer is used in multimedia mode.

Malicious programs

The actions of malicious programs can also cause the maximum load on the hard drive. Recently, infection methods aimed at unauthorized mining have become very popular in addition to classic viruses. Mining viruses are directly aimed at using system resources to mine cryptocurrencies.

You can determine this process similarly – through the Task Manager. If the process with an unknown name, which the user did not start independently, is in the first place in terms of impact on the DiskDisk, and after trying to end it manually, the system refused, it may be a virus.

It is necessary to scan the computer with anti-virus solutions with up-to-date anti-virus databases to more accurately identify the latest developments of malicious programs.

At this point, these are all the solutions we can offer for a situation when 100% disk usage in Windows 10 happens.

Hopefully, one of the above solutions will work for you. The last option is to perform a clean install of Windows 10, which will solve the problem for those who accidentally have malware installed on their systems and may not know it. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!