• August 27, 2021 •

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU Usage (Fixed)

An operating system like Windows 10 is a combination of multiple software, programs, commands, and services that need to be running in order to access the computer without any issues. Also, hardware such as RAM and hard disk plays an important role to hold all the processes and tasks that the operating systems require to be able to corporate with software. There are programs that consume CPU and RAM on an optimum level resulting in memory and storage management issues causing computer issues like freezing and performance drop.

Many users on the internet were reporting an issue related to high CPU and RAM usage due to ntoskrnl.exe. Also, some users reported that they are experiencing BSOD (Blue screen of death issues) lead by a lack of memory management. By the end of this article, you will know everything about ntoskrnl.exe and how to control the high CPU usage caused by the same.

See also: Windows 10: Checking for Updates Stuck (Fixed)

What is Ntoskrnl.exe and Why it Cause High CPU Usage?

Ever wondered how our Windows 10 manages its memory so well? That’s because of the ntoskrnl.exe memory handler. The full form of Ntoskrnl.exe is (Windows NT operating system kernel) which is also known as kernel image. This allows kernel and compiled layers of Windows NT kernel space to run multiple services in terms of hardware virtualization and memory management.

Also, the kernel allows making communication between software and hardware, when your system boots ntoskrnl.exe is used to send signals to the CPU to begin the program, services, and tasks. However, there’s no solid proof of why ntoskrnl.exe causes high CPU usage. It might be happening due to the compressed memory, bad or outdated device drivers, malware and viruses, corrupt ntoskrnl.exe system files.

Fix ntoskrnl.exe High CPU Usage Issue

Follow the methods mentioned below to fix ntoskrnl.exe high CPU usage issues.

Update Your Drivers

Outdated drivers often cause issues related to ntoskrnl.exe. If that’s the case then make sure your drivers are updated. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Press Windows + R key to open the Run box.

Step 2: Click on your drivers, to expand the list, do a right-click on the drivers and select Update driver.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Step 3: Wait for some moment and restart your PC.

You can also visit the manufacturer page accordingly, download and install the drivers.

Alternately, you can also update drivers using Windows settings. Visit Start menu > Open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Download. You will get to know whether drivers are updated to date please select Check for Updates, this will install the required driver, restart your system to apply the changes, and see if this resolved the issue.

Run Antivirus and Scan The System

High CPU usage might be due to the virus or malware that has swooped into your system. In that case, just scan the system using legit antivirus software or use Windows Defender instead.

Step 1: Visit the Start menu and open Settings.

Step 2: In the Settings window select Update & Security.

Step 3: Select Windows Security from the left navigation panel and select Open Windows Security.

Step 4: Select Virus & threats protection from the left navigation panel, and then select Microsoft Defender Offline scan. And hit the Scan Now button as shown in the image below.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Your system may boot first and then begin the scan or vise versa, enter the password when needed. Leave the machine to complete the process.

Check and Repair Windows System Files

A corrupted file system will not only cause BSOD (Blue screen of death) issues, but also it will not allow your system to be stable. Here, we are using chkdsk and sfc command-line tools using Windows PowerShell (Admin).

Step 1: Do a right-click on the Start menu and select PowerShell (Admin).

Step 2: Type the following command and press Enter.

sfc /scannow
Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

This will check the integrity of system files present in the system, this will analyze, and will automatically fix the corrupted system file, just select Y to accept the changes.

Step 4: Also, type the following command and press enter.

chkdsk /r
Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

This will boot scan and check your entire hard drive’s system file whether it’s corrupted or not. Just press Y to confirm, restart your PC in order to begin the scanning process, enter the password when needed.

Disable Superfetch Service

Superfetch leads to high CPU usage, if this service is enabled on your system disable the service to fix high CPU usage issues.

Step 1: Visit the Start menu.

Step 2: Type Services and press enter key.

Step 3: In the services window, search Superfetch service, double click on it, and then select Properties.

Step 4: Under the General tab, set Startup type to disable.

Step 5: Click on OK to make changes.

Once done, you will notice that there is no more high CPU usage. Likwise, turn off servie like:

  • Windows search 
  • Remote Desktop Services UserMode Port Redirector
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • Offline Files services, and 
  • Remote Desktop Services.

This will definitely help you to fix high CPU consumption issues.

Perform Troubleshoot on Insatlled Apps and Services Using Windows Clean Boot

An installed app or a service might be causing high CPU usage, for that you need to check the app or services individually.

Step 1: Press Windows + R key to open the Run box.

Step 2: In the Run box, type MSConfig and press OK.

Step 3: Select the General tab from the upper menu bar, click on the Selective startup option then tick on Load system services and Load startup items options. This will enable Microsoft to issue services when you will boot the system, press the OK button to confirm.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Step 4: After booting your system into the clean boot, have a look at your CPU usage in Task Manager (Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it). If this works then go to the Service tab from the upper tab menu, the assume that System Configuration was the culprit and was causing the issue. You have to inspect each service and problematic apps individually which is causing the CPU usage issues.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Turn Off Runtime Broker

A user on Reddit mentioned that Runtime broker consumes high CPU and RAM usage. So if Runtime Broder is running then it might be the culprit, disabling it and fix the issue.

Step 1: Visit the Start menu and open Settings.

Step 2: Go to System > Notification and Actions.

s you use Windows”.

Step 3: Disable “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows”.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Step 4: Restart your system.

Alternate Method to Diable Runtime Broker

Step 1: Open a Notepad.

Step 2: Copy and paste the following text.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\TimeBroker] “Start”=dword:00000003
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\SysMain] “DisplayName”=”Superfetch” “Start”=dword:00000003

Step 3: Click on File and then Save as.

Step 4: Save the file as whichever_name_you_choose.reg.

Step 5: Right-click on the same file and select Run as an administrator, just accept and confirm the registry changes.

Step 6: Restart your system.

Changing Registry Settings

There are many settings available in the registry, some of them are unwanted and some are useful. Here, we will edit some of them to get some performance boost by adjusting registry configurations:

Step 1: Press Windows + R to open the Run box.

Step 2: Type regedit and press enter.

Step 3: Navigate to the following given path.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SYSTEM>CurrentControlSet>Control>Session Manager>Memory Management

Step 4: Search and double click on the Clear Page File Shutdown registry in the right pane.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Step 5: Change the “Value Data:” to 1.

Step 6: Restart your system.

Stip BlueStacks Servies

BlueStacks is an Android emulator used to run the Android apps using the emulator. Some users reported that it can lead to ntoskrnl.exe high CPU usage. If that’s the case stop the BlueStacks services if you are using one, here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Open Notepad.

Step 2: Copy and paste the following text into the notepad:

C:Program Files (x86)BlueStacksHD-Quit.exe”


net stop BstHdUpdaterSvc

net stop BstHdLogRotatorSvc

net stop BstHdAndroidSv

Step 3: Click on File and select Save as.

Step 4: Set the Save as a file to All Files.

Step 5: Name the file as script.bat and save it into the specific location.

Step 6: Now, visit that location and run the file.

This will stop all the BlueStacks services including the BlueStacks itself, open the Task Manager, and the issue should be gone.

Disable Hardware Acceleration in Chrome

Google Chrome needs better memory in order to run the multiple tabs, if the requirement is not met then it’s either consumes more CPU usage or it crashes. Here, we will disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome.

Step 1: Open Google Chrome browser.

Step 2: Click on the three-dot icon and select Settings.

Step 3: Under Settings, click on Advanced.

Step 4: Scroll down, under System disable Use hardware acceleration when available.

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

Once done, just restart your PC in order to apply the changes. See if this helps you to fix the high CPU usage.

Run DISM Command

The DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) command was issued to fix the corrupted file systems. If the issue is due to a corrupted file system, then it can fix the ntoskrnrl.exe issue which leads to high CPU and RAM consumption.

Step 1: Do a right-click on Start, and select Command Prompt (Admin).

Step 2: When the Command Prompt window appears type the following command (individually) and press Enter.



DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Windows 10: Ntoskrnl.exe Fix High Cpu Usage

This will take some time to analyze, if there’s any corrupted file system detected then it will repair the file automatically. Restart the PC once the process is complete.

What if Nothing Works?

All the methods mentioned above are valid fixes. At this point, the ntoskrnl.exe high CPU usage issue should be able to get fixed. If the issue still tends to persist then you can perform reset your Windows 10 PC. Don’t worry it has the options to keep your data safe.

That’s it for now, hope this helps! We are glad to know your thoughts in the comment section below. Till then, stay tuned for more info.

See next: How To Fix the Windows 10 Start Menu If It’s Frozen?

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