• September 24, 2023

The System process is CPU intensive: what to do

System processes are necessary for any operating system in order for it to function correctly. Each of them differs in importance and is responsible for specific tasks. The “system” process (Ntoskrnl.exe) is one of the most important because it handles various device drivers. To be precise, it downloads software from various vendors that require a higher level of permissions.

Typically, system processes use up to 5% of the CPU, but in some cases this figure reaches 70%, or even 100%, making it impossible to work on the computer. No doubt this loading is abnormal. The main reason for the high CPU utilization by the System process is usually a driver problem, be it incompatibility, corruption, or something else. Therefore, in order to fix this indicator, you will have to apply several solutions until one of them normalizes the computer.

Solution 1: run the troubleshooter

Compatibility issues can cause processes to use too much CPU resources. Thus, you need to find out which of them are in conflict with each other. To do this, we will carry out system diagnostics to identify problem drivers:

  1. Right-click on the Start icon and select Control Panel.
  2. In the window that opens, find the Troubleshooting section.
  3. Next, go to the View All Categories tab.
  4. Select Troubleshoot compatibility issues.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Wait while Windows finishes scanning and reports the results.
  7. Apply the suggested fixes.

The System process is CPU intensive

Solution 2: update your hardware configuration

In some cases, scanning the hardware for changes can help:

  1. Right-click on Start and select Device Manager.
  2. At the top of the window, click Update hardware configuration.
  3. Check for changes to the provisioning.

The System process is CPU intensive

Solution 3: reinstall your graphics drivers

Since one of the main reasons a system process can use too much CPU is changing / corrupting drivers, you should reinstall your graphics card software:

  1. Right-click on Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Video adapters section.
  3. Right click on your graphics card and select Uninstall device.
  4. When prompted, check the Remove driver software for this device option.
  5. Reboot your computer.

The System process is CPU intensive

Once the computer boots up, you need to install new drivers for your GPU. This can be done in the same place – in the Device Manager, or download the latest software from the video card manufacturer’s website.

Solution 4: change settings in Nvidia Control Panel

Changing the settings in the Nvidia control panel might also help fix the problem. High CPU utilization by the system process often occurs in devices with two or more video cards.

  1. Right click on an empty spot on the desktop.
  2. Select Nvidia Control Panel and wait for the panel to load.
  3. Click on the Manage 3D Settings section.
  4. Go to the Software Settings tab.
  5. Next, select the programs from the drop-down list that work on your computer most often, for example, a browser.
  6. Choose a video card for him, which he will use by default.
  7. Make the same settings for all commonly used applications.

The System process is CPU intensive

Solution 5 – Uninstall Conexant Audio software on Lenovo laptops

If you are using a Lenovo laptop, you should uninstall the Conexant audio drivers as they are no longer supported by the developer and can cause all types of problems, including high CPU usage in the system process.

  1. Right click on the Start icon and go to Device Manager;
  2. Find Conexant audio drivers and uninstall them by right-clicking and Uninstall;
  3. Reboot your computer.

The listed methods should be sufficient to eliminate the error.

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