How to Handle High CPU Issues on Your PC

  • Comments: 17
  • Written on: April 5th, 2010

Does your PC freeze often, especially when you start or shutdown your computer, or try to launch an application?

If you answered yes, then to rectify the situation you need to first identify the culprit. Typically, a computer freezes when one or more running processes, such as ipssvc.exe, ekrn.exe, or msmpeng.exe, report high CPU usage.

Perform the following steps to identify the process that is eating into your system’s resources:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the Task Manager window.
  2. Click the Processes tab and go through the list of running processes to identify the process that is reporting high CPU usage.

Note: The percentage of CPU resources a process is consuming is listed next to its name.

If you find that one or more processes are frequently reporting high CPU usage, then you need to take corrective measures to get rid of frequent system freeze ups.

The first step is to run a malware scan to ensure your PC is free from malware. Malware processes, if present on your computer, can cause frequent system freeze ups by consuming huge amounts of CPU resources. Do not be fooled by the name of a process, because various malware programs are known to use the same name as genuine processes, such as ekrn.exe or msmpeng.exe.

In case a malware scan reports the presence of malicious programs, immediately remove them to speed up your computer. If no threat was reported, then you need to make a decision about whether or not you wish to disable the process(s) that is causing the frequent system freeze ups.

Before you disable the process, you should first determine the function of the process and the program to which it is attached. Next, check if the process is an essential process or not (one without which the attached program cannot function properly) or if an alternative program, which consumes less resources is available or not. For instance, if you find the genuine ekrn.exe process (this process is part of NOD32 virus protection software) to be constantly consuming huge amounts of resources, then you can uninstall the NOD32 protective software and use another equally potent but less resource-consuming protective software.

On the other hand, if you do not want to uninstall the program to which the high CPU consuming process is attached, then you can choose to disable the culprit process, if it is not an essential process. To understand this better, an example is shared below:

If you find ipssvc.exe (this process is part of the ‘LanCom VPN’ software) is constantly consuming huge amounts of CPU resources, then you can safely disable the process to avoid frequent system freeze ups.

To disable a process, you need to complete the following tasks:

  1. Remove the process from your Startup Programs list using the System Configuration utility (msconfig).
  2. Disable the service to which the culprit process. You can do this from the Services management console window that you can easily display by running the services.msc command.

We hope you make use of the suggestions presented in this article to tackle high CPU usage issues on your PC and avoid any further unwarranted system freeze ups.  The key to resolving high CPU usage issues is to identify the culprit process(s) and then perform definite measures to rectify the situation.

  1. Laptop Attache said on April 5th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Sometimes this occurs when a program has crashed. So I usually first check under the programs tab to see if something is not responding. Then I check the processes tab and try sorting it by memory use and then by username. By sorting it by username you can usually easily separate the tasks that are more likely to be optional.

  2. Nicole Price said on April 7th, 2010 at 12:57 am

    This used to be a problem with the Windows os. Since I switched to a Mac, I have not had the problem and hope that I won’t ever!

  3. business it solutions said on April 7th, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Vista is a resource hog. If you noticed this recently, I would check to see what programs you’ve recently installed, as well as what services or programs you have running on start up. Try running HiJackThis to see what programs you have running on startup within your registry.

  4. Genite said on April 8th, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Thanks to me for i found your post, otherwise i was going to reinstall my Windows to my PC, now i am going to try this trick on my PC.

  5. used tires said on April 8th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Sometimes, if you look into your task manager, you may notice some applications are running even though you’ve closed them. For eg., Windows Media Player (WMP) has a habit of staying on in the background sometimes, so you must make sure you close it via task manager’s end task feature.

    Till then,


  6. Net Age | Web Development said on April 11th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I has issues with Spybot S&D’s Tea Timer really hogging resources. Since disabling it my trusty old HP laptop is working fine again as my stand-alone internet machine. I keep my nice PC off the net altogether, just to make sure I don’t get any nasty surprises 😉

  7. Laptop Attache said on April 12th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Interesting comment Net Age. Perhaps I will try disabling Tea Timer to see how it affects my performance. As much as I would hate to get any spyware or malware, I’d take that risk if it meant my laptop wasn’t so slow.

  8. Pescuit said on April 16th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Disabling all the junk prosesses is much easy if you delete it’s entries in the registry. I am using a free tool from sysinternals called autoruns. This, and a computer scan can cure your PC.

  9. çizgi film İzle said on May 1st, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks to me for i found your post, otherwise i was going to reinstall my Windows to my PC, now i am going to try this trick on my PC.

  10. payday uk said on May 10th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I am lately getting lot of screen freezing issues with my Vista.. I think its time to upgrade to 7.

  11. Dena Tasarim said on May 19th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Holy crap Thor. That’s a really nice tip 🙂 Thanks a lot

  12. watch season episode said on June 3rd, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I started playing BFBC2 when I noticed that my computer would crash half way through the game and I could not figure out why it was doing it. Turns out it was dust I could not even see. My heatsink was completely blocked from inside and once I cleaned it game would stop crashing but the most surprise came from running other apps. They were so much faster! So if your processor starts becoming sluggish, check for dust.

  13. çizgi film seyret said on June 6th, 2010 at 6:51 am

    This used to be a problem with the Windows os. Since I switched to a Mac, I have not had the problem and hope that I won’t ever!

  14. şişme bebek said on June 16th, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Holy crap Thor. That’s a really nice tip Thanks a lot

  15. Ev Yemekleri said on June 16th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I thought upgrading to Windows 7 will solve all my CPU performance problems at my laptop, buy i am still suffering after the upgrade. Will these helpful tips also work on windows 7?

  16. Textbooks said on October 4th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Great strategies… I used to do this back in my gaming days. I recently switched to an Apple, though, haven’t had nearly as much trouble with freezes and the like. It also seems like non-essential processes don’t run as much with the Mac OS than Windows.

  17. gogus buyutucu said on April 18th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    This used to be a problem with the Windows os. :/

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