100 disk usage in Windows 10

Have you noticed Windows 10 freezes and the disk usage goes up to or close to 100% for a few seconds or even for a couple of minutes? Especially after the Windows update the disk usage is very high. Due to the high Disk usage Windows 10 system became unresponsive not perform well. Several factors can cause Windows 10 100 disk usage it could be a failing hard drive or a malfunctioning storage controller, or Malicious software can cause high disk usage by performing unwanted tasks in the background. Again it could be system files are corrupted or Windows Search indexing a large number of files or if the search index is corrupted could also contribute to 100 disk usage in Windows 10. whatever the reason where we have a few tried and tested workarounds you can try to reduce disk usage on Windows 10.

Windows 10 100 disk usage

There could be several reasons why you are seeing 100% disk utilization in Task Manager even though nothing is running on the machine:

  • Corrupted system files can disrupt normal disk operations, leading to high disk utilization.
  • A failing or malfunctioning hard drive may exhibit high disk usage, even during idle periods.
  • Malicious software running in the background can consume disk resources without your knowledge.
  • Windows 10 may have background processes or services consuming disk resources.
  • Sometimes Windows Search indexing service can consume significant disk resources, especially if it’s actively indexing a large number of files or if the search index is corrupted.
  • Problems with the virtual memory or pagefile settings can lead to excessive disk swapping, resulting in high disk utilization

Depending on the reason you can try several solutions to fix Windows 10 high disk usage problem.

Restart windows

If the very first time notice this problem with Windows 10 high usage, turn it off and on again the system. It sounds too simple, but it can often cure issues that you might otherwise spend a long time investigating.

Restarting your computer clears temporary files and resets system processes, which can help resolve software-related issues contributing to high disk usage.

  • Click on the Start menu.
  • Select the power icon and choose “Restart.”

Also, you can Start Windows 10 clean boot state to determine if start-up service conflict causing the issue.

Install the latest Windows updates

Microsoft regularly releases cumulative updates with various bug fixes and Similar to restarting your PC, you’d be surprised at how effective updating Windows fixes problems.

  • Open settings using the keyboard shortcut Windows + I
  • Click Update & security then Windows Update,
  • Now hit the check for updates button to allow the download and install available updates from the Microsoft server.
  • Once done restart your PC to apply them

Installing the latest Windows updates, not only fix the 100% disk problem but also optimize overall system performance and stability.

Windows 10 update download

Disable Windows Search and Sysmain (Superfetch)

While services like Windows Search and Sysmain (formerly Superfetch) are designed to improve system performance, they can sometimes lead to excessive disk activity. Disabling these services temporarily can reduce disk usage and alleviate the strain on your system.

  • Press Windows + R, type services.msc, and ok to open services,
  • Find “Windows Search” or “Sysmain” (Superfetch), right-click, select Properties, change Startup type to Disabled, and click Stop.

Disable windows search service

Use High-Performance Power Plan

With some computers, hard drives are smart and will try to power down or change RPM to save power. Changing your power plan to “High Performance” can allocate more resources to disk operations, potentially reducing disk-related problems.

  • Open the Control Panel and go to “Power Options.”
  • Select the “High Performance” power plan.

In addition, click on Change plan settings and then expand Turn off hard disk after and set the minutes to 0. This will ensure that the hard disk does not power down or go into a low power state, which can cause the disk usage problem.

turn off hard disk after 0

Check the disk for errors

Disk errors can occur due to various factors, including hardware malfunctions, power outages, or improper shutdowns. These errors can impact disk performance and lead to high disk usage. Fortunately, you can quickly fix this issue by checking your disk using CHKDSK Command.

Identifying and repairing disk errors helps maintain disk health and reduces unnecessary disk activity.

  • Open the command prompt as administrator,
  • Type the command chkdsk.exe /f /r and hit the enter key,
  • Type Y and hit the Enter key to schedule running disk check on next start.

Exit the command prompt and restart Windows, this Will Stat the scanning and repairing process for Disk Drive Error.

Run Check disk on Windows 10

By checking for and repairing disk errors, you ensure the integrity of your file system and prevent further data loss or corruption.

Reset Virtual Memory

Virtual memory, also known as the page file, is a reserved portion of your hard drive used by the operating system when physical RAM is fully utilized. Resetting virtual memory settings can sometimes resolve issues related to its allocation, preventing excessive disk swapping and reducing overall disk usage.

To reset virtual memory to the default state:

  • Press Windows + R, type sysdm.cpl, and hit the enter key,
  • On System properties go to the Advanced tab and click on Settings under the Performance section.
  • Now move to the Advanced tab and click on the Change button under Virtual Memory,
  • Uncheck the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” option.
  • Select your system drive (usually C:) and choose “No paging file.” Click on Set, then OK.

Restart your computer to apply the changes. After restarting, repeat the steps above and re-enable virtual memory by selecting “System managed size” or specifying a custom size recommended for your system.

Automatically manage paging file size

Fix your StorAHCI.sys driver

This is the most effective solution I personally found to fix 100% disk usage in Windows 10. Sometimes this issue is caused by some Advanced Host Controller Interface PCI-Express (AHCI PCIe) models running with the inbox  StorAHCI.sys driver due to a firmware bug. Here’s how to determine and fix if this is your problem.

  • Right-click on the Start menu and select the device manager.
  • Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers,
  • Right-click Standard SATA AHCI Controller and go to Properties.
  • Now check the Under Driver tab, and click Driver Details.
  • If it shows C:\Windows\system32\DRIVERS\storahci.sys in the Drivers files field, then you are running the inbox AHCI driver.

AHCI driver (StorAHCL.sys)

  • Now click OK and go to the Details tab.
  • Under the property section, Select the Device instance path from the drop-down menu.
  • Copy the value present there to some text file or keep the box open.

Note: If you find multiple AHCI controllers in IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, copy the AHCI Device Instance path for every one of them and do the following steps for each controller one by one.

Note Down Device instance path

Tweak on Windows registry editor 

Open Windows Registry Editor and navigate the following path.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI\<AHCI Controller> \Device Parameters\Interrupt Management\MessageSignaledInterruptProperties.

The <AHCI Controller> here refers to the Value Which you previously noted).

Now on the right pane of MessageSignaledInterruptProperties key, look for the registry DWORD(REG_DWORD) named MSISupported which should correspond to Value 1 as its Data. Double-click on the DWORD to modify its value and Set 0 As shown below image.

reg Tweak to Disable MSI Support

Restart your computer after the change, then check your computer’s disk usage: Type “task manager” in the Windows search bar and select Task Manager, then in the Processes tab, look at the % at the top of the Disk column. If it’s no longer 100%, you’ve fixed the problem!

Update Device Drivers

Outdated or faulty device drivers can cause compatibility issues and errors, leading to increased disk activity. If the above solutions didn’t help, Updating drivers ensures that hardware components function optimally and reduces the likelihood of disk-related problems.

Visit the website of your device manufacturer or use Device Manager to update drivers.

  • Press windows key + x and select Device Manager,
  • Right-click on a device (for example Graphics driver) and select Update driver
  • Select the first option Search automatically for updated driver software and follow on-screen instructions.

Update display driver

Scan for Virus malware infection

Malware infections often run background processes that consume system resources, including disk usage. Perform deep Scan using Windows security (Defender) or third-party antivirus and remove malware can stop these processes and reduce strain on your disk.

  • Use Windows Security (Windows Defender) or install a reputable antivirus program.
  • Perform a full system scan to check for and remove any viruses or malware.

Here is a video for your reference explain how to fix the windows 10 100 disk usage problem.

Also, Read

Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.