Why Ntoskrnl.Exe Causes High CPU and How To Fix It.
When you boot your Windows PC or laptop, a number of different system processes are started. They create a user interface that you will use to log in and get started, but they will also be responsible for various internal activities that you are not even aware of, such as communicating with other network devices.
Unfortunately, system processes like ntoskrnl.exe and csrss.exe can sometimes cause problems on your computer. In particular, Ntoskrnl.exe is a core component of the Windows operating system, making it difficult to troubleshoot. If ntoskrnl.exe is causing the high CPU usage and you want to fix it, here’s what you need to do.
What is Ntoskrnl.exe?
The system process ntoskrnl.exe, also known as the Windows NT kernel executable (or system in Windows Task Manager), is arguably one of the most important processes found in Windows.
The kernel is the code that provides communication between hardware and software. When an operating system such as Windows boots, the Windows kernel (ntoskrnl.exe) is used to send instructions to components such as your CPU to perform tasks and actions. Without the ntoskrnl.exe system process, your Windows computer simply wouldn’t work.
It is responsible for giving the software access to connected components and peripherals, managing loaded software processes to ensure they interact correctly (and safely) with the hardware, and monitoring how much memory is used (and remains available) on your PC, among other things.
While other system components can be disabled, you will not be able to disable ntosknrl.exe when installing Windows. In the event of a forced shutdown, Windows will return a BSOD error ntoskrnl.exe, and you will need to restart your computer.
Why is Ntoskrnl.exe causing major CPU problems?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to why ntoskrnl.exe can cause high CPU usage in Windows Task Manager. The causes of this issue may differ from PC to PC.
This is because ntoskrnl.exe is responsible for a lot of Windows system actions or is involved in other system actions through other processes. Another Windows service, an installed application, corrupted system files, or a connected peripheral can put additional stress on the Windows system process ntoskrnl.exe (and your processor).
The best way to fix this problem is to scan your Windows system files, scan for malware or viruses, and update your computer. You can also start Windows in clean boot mode to see if another application or installed service is causing the problem.
Since ntoskrnl.exe is partially responsible for memory management in Windows 10, you may find that another application or service interacting with it is using more system resources, which is incorrectly listed as belonging to the ntoskrnl.exe process.
Scan and repair Windows system files
Windows works well when all the necessary system files are in place. If some of these files are corrupted, missing, or inaccessible, your Windows 10 installation may become unstable and ntoskrnl.exe BSOD and errors become more likely.
One possible way to fix this is to run the chkdsk and sfc command line tools using Windows PowerShell.
- To start Windows PowerShell, right-click the Start menu and select the Windows PowerShell (Admin) option.
- In a PowerShell terminal window, enter sfc / scannow to check the integrity of the Windows system files. This should find and automatically fix any missing or corrupted files, but you may need to press Y to accept any changes.
- After sfc completes, enter chkdsk / r to schedule a boot scan to check the file system of the hard drive. You will need to confirm by pressing Y on your keyboard and then restart your computer to start scanning.
These tools will check your installation and hard drive for missing or corrupted files. If ntoskrnl.exe issues persist, you will need to try one of the additional steps listed below.
Install Windows System Updates and Drivers
Windows System Updates contains fixes and updates that can help resolve more common issues reported by users on the Internet, including BSOD errors and high CPU usage.
These issues can sometimes be resolved by making sure your computer has the latest version by installing all available system and driver updates. This can be done from the Windows Settings menu.
- To start Windows Settings, right-click the Start menu and select Settings. From the Options menu, choose Update & Security> Windows Update> Download (or Download and Install) if updates are ready to be installed. Otherwise, select Check for Updates instead. This will automatically start downloading and installing all available system and driver updates.
If you recently installed a new PC component or peripheral, you can check the manufacturer’s website for driver updates. This is especially true for graphics cards, as manufacturers such as NVIDIA regularly release new drivers before adding them to Windows Update.
Check for viruses and malware
With Microsoft Defender (formerly Windows Defender), it has never been easier to remove stubborn malware from a Windows 10 PC.
- First, open Windows Settings (right-click the Start menu and select “Settings”). ). From there, choose Update & Security> Open Windows Security.
- In the Windows Security window, select Virus & Threat Protection> Scan Options, then select the Microsoft Defender Offline Scan option. This will prepare a boot scan of your computer for malware. Click the Scan Now button to restart your computer and begin the scanning process.
Windows will restart and start scanning your drives for malware. If he finds them, you will be asked if you want to delete or quarantine him.
Troubleshoot applications and services installed with Windows Clean Boot
Windows 10 is not free of bugs or bugs, but if your computer has the latest version and the system files are intact, then potential problems with ntoskrnl.exe could be caused by another application or an installed service.
To test this, you can run a clean boot, which will run Windows without any third-party apps and services.
- To restart Windows in clean boot mode, right-click the Start menu and select the Run option (or press Windows Key + R on your keyboard). In the Run command box, type msconfig and click OK to run it.
- On the General tab of System Configuration, select the Selective Startup option, then clear the Load System Services and Load Startup Items check boxes. This ensures that on the next reboot, only services released by Microsoft are loaded. Click OK to confirm, then restart your computer.
- After rebooting to a clean boot version of Windows, check the CPU usage. If the problem is resolved, it means that one of the third-party services shown in the Services tab of the System Configuration window is causing the problem.
In this case, you will need to examine each service in turn to determine which one might be causing high CPU usage. You can then permanently disable any problematic applications or services if you find the culprit.
Solve Ntoskrnl.exe problems
If the above methods don’t work and you regularly experience high CPU usage for ntoskrnl.exe, you may need to consider other fixes. This is especially true if you see the ntoskrnl.exe BSOD error pop-up message, which could indicate a problem with your computer that can only be solved by cleaning and reinstalling Windows.
If a drastic solution, such as reinstalling Windows, still doesn’t fix the problem, there might be a hardware issue. Updating your PC by replacing essential components like RAM or CPU may be enough to get things working again, but you may find that a complete PC replacement is your only option.