Windows 10 users who experience issues such as slow response time may look into their Task Manager for guidance. Task Manager provides you with a wealth of information regarding the processes that are currently running on your machine.
Among the metrics, you can monitor with Task Manager is your computer’s disk usage. If you see a disk usage of 100% your machine’s disk usage is maxed out and your system’s performance will be degraded. You need to take some corrective action.
Many users who have recently upgraded to Windows 10 have complained of their computers running slowly and Task Manager reporting 100% disk usage.
Here are 10 methods you can use to attempt to resolve the problem of high disk usage on your Windows 10 system. Some may take longer than usual due to the stress and increased usage that your hard drive is already under.
Way 1: Restart Your System
You know from experience that restarting your machine can often resolve all kinds of issues. Your Windows 10 100% disk usage problem is no exception. While taking this route may not help you find out the underlying reason for the problem, if it goes away, that may be sufficient for you.
Be sure to use the “Restart” option which starts your system in a fresh state as opposed to the “Shut Down” option which preserves your system state and may not resolve your disk issue.
Way 2: Update Windows
Installing the latest updates can often resolve mysterious problems with your Windows 10 system. Check if you are up to date by going into the “Update and security” section of the Windows Settings app.
You can check for new updates and install them if they are available.
Settings > Update & Security settings > Windows Update
This may improve the overall performance of your system including that of your hard drive.
➡️ Also check: How to Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 without Losing Data
Way 3: Disable Windows Search
A known bug in Windows 8 and 10 can cause a search loop that can be the cause of your high disk usage. To temporarily stop the Windows Search facility and see if it improves your disk issue, open an admin prompt and enter the command: net.exe stop “Windows search”. This will stop Windows search from running until the next time Windows is restarted.
If it turns out that Windows Search was responsible for your Windows 10 disk usage reaching 100%, you can disable it permanently by following this procedure:
- Press the Windows key + R, enter services.msc and hit Enter.
- The services window will open. Select the Windows Search entry and double-click it to update its properties.
- Select Disabled under Startup type and then OK to save your changes.
Way 4: Check For Malware
Your computer may be infected with malware that is causing your disk usage to spike. If you have antivirus software running in the background it should have caught the issue. Nothing is perfect though, so force your antivirus package to scan your hard drive for a potential infection. This could be a time-consuming process since your disk is already experiencing high usage but might be necessary to identify and remove malicious software.
Way 5: Stop the Superfetch Service
Another Windows 10 feature that can cause problems is the Windows Superfetch service. You can disable this service temporarily in a similar fashion to Windows search with the command: net.exe stop superfetch.
To disable the service permanently, use the same procedure as for disabling Windows search.
Way 6: Change Energy Options from Balanced to High Performance
This change of energy settings seems to have worked for a number of users who have experienced 100% disk usage on Windows 10.
Use this procedure:
- Go to Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings.
- Select the High-performance option from the drop-down box and make sure all plan settings are set to their defaults.
Way 7: Temporarily Turn Off Your Antivirus Software
Another step to take when investigating the cause behind your Windows 10 100% disk usage problem is to turn off your antivirus software temporarily. See if this improves your disk usage. If so, you may want to consider changing antivirus packages. Even Windows Defender can cause problems by increasing I/O and network usage which might lead to high disk usage.
Way 8: Reset Virtual Memory in Windows 10
Virtual memory treats your disk as if it is RAM and uses it to swap out temporary files when it runs out of actual RAM. Errors in the pagefile.sys can cause 100% disk usage on your Windows 10 machine. The remedy to this problem is to reset your virtual memory settings.
Follow these steps to reset your virtual memory:
- In your computer’s “System Properties” you need to click on “Advanced system settings”.
- Click “Settings” in the Performance section.
- Select the “Advanced” tab and click the “Change” button.
- Make sure the box titled “Automatically manage paging file size” is checked.
- You can also choose “No paging file”, Press OK and then reboot. This will inhibit the use of virtual memory and may improve your system’s disk performance.
Way 9: Run Check Disk
A check disk can show you if there are any physical problems with your hard drive. Usually, a high disk usage indicates that there is an application or logical issue driving the disk usage, but it is worth your time to rule out any physical damage. Run check disk and note its results.
Way 10: Change Settings in Google Chrome and Skype
Some users have reported that making these changes to your Google Chrome and Skype settings can have a beneficial effect on your disk usage.
For Chrome, make this change:
- Settings -> Show advanced settings.
- Under Privacy section, uncheck the “Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly” option.
- You should also try disabling Flash in Google Chrome.
To update your Skype settings use this procedure:
- To start Skype for Windows 10, select the Start menu from the bottom left of your screen. In the list of available applications, scroll down to Skype for Windows 10 and click to open it.
- Select the Security tab and click on the Edit option.
- In the list of “Groups or Usernames” select “ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES”. Check the Write option to select Allow which lets Skype write to your disk.
- Press OK.
If these methods don’t resolve your issue with 100% disk usage on your Windows 10 computer, you may need to look into replacing your hard drive. One last thing to try is to disable any automatic defrag processes that are running as they may be causing you problems. In general, your hard drive should never be at 100% usage, so if it is, there is some reason for the condition. You need to fix the issue or risk a very slow moving computer.