Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10

Are you also worried about your PC because of becoming unresponsive and your Windows lagging significantly? Some typical signs include 100% disk usage, Windows 10 system freezing or crashing on startup for unknown reasons, not responding to your keyboard clicks after the High CPU or RAM usage, and a slowdown in the overall performance. This problem has recently become more common in Windows 10 users.

Moreover, on checking out the Task Manager, you will notice a ntoskrnl.exe file consuming about 99% or 100% CPU or other system resources. Since ntoskrnl.exe is an essential part of the operating system, closing it can cause more critically serious issues. If you noticed the same, then worry not as this issue seems challenging at first, but there are some effective ways of resolving it too.


What is ntoskrnl.exe, and What Does it do?

BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) errors are among the most found ones on PCs, and ntoskrnl.exe (Windows NT operating system kernel) is one such error.

ntoskrnl.exe is a fundamental part of the operating system which ensures to take the responsibility of some necessary system-related services like memory management, process management, and hardware virtualization.

In addition to this, memory manager, cache manager, the executive, security reference monitor, kernel as well as Task Scheduler, all are included in this executable file, which makes it a guarded system file.

Because of being so much protected, it is never an easy task to delete or corrupt this file easily. It should be noted that, during normal working, ntoskrnl.exe is not supposed to consume more than 30% of the CPU resources, but if it is doing so, then it is a case to worry about.

Causes of ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Space, and Memory

Now an obvious question will surely be arising in your mind? You might be wondering that the task of ntoskrnl.exe file is to manage memory, then why does it consume all the disk space, memory, CPU, and halt the working of your Windows.

Various reasons can cause ntoskrnl.exe high space usage such as Update Bugs, Windows 10 new features of compression memory, Virus malware Infection, Outdated Incompatible Device drivers or Applications, corrupted system files, etc.

1. New Compressed Memory on Windows 10

In Windows 10, this executable file performs an additional task of compression of old pages of memory to free memory. In Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new feature of a compression store in which whenever the pressure exceeds the Memory Manager, it compresses the non-functioning files and does not write them to the disk.

As a result, this whole procedure reduces the amount of memory consumed per process, which allows the Windows to work more smoothly by maintaining more applications inside the physical memory at a particular time.

Therefore, this increases the responsiveness of Windows. But sometimes, the compression store uses more resources and consumes the whole space, which leads to this problem. You can check the usage of the ntoskrnl.exe file in the task manager.

2. Bad or Outdated Device Drivers

Device Drivers allow the operating system to communicate with computer hardware. Outdated and corrupt drivers can also cause ntoskrnl.exe to consume a lot of space, and Windows will report a device error. Let’s see how?

With the help of these drivers, ntoskrnl.exe transfers the data while communicating with other devices. The data that is sent or received get written in the RAM and waits for its execution. These corrupt drivers continuously send data to ntoskrnl.exe for handling it. However, getting excess data from these drivers results in memory leakage.

Moreover, these drivers rewrite all the data in the memory space of the ntoskrnl.exe file. In this condition, all the space of RAM gets filled. You need more CPU space for consuming the data. The users who have updated their Windows from 7 or 8.1 to 10 are more likely to face the problem.

3. Malware and Virus

Viruses and malware are hazardous for your computer, and they can also harm the ntoskrnl.exe file by embedding it into it. This malware can lead to memory leakage by hijacking the functions of the ntoskrnl.exe file. The viruses can also write themselves in the memory space of the extension file.

Both malware and viruses can consume entire memory space and resources of CPU, and in this case, it becomes unable for the ntoskrnl.exe file to handle the pressure, and memory leakage occurs. In most cases, you will see a blue screen i.e., BSOD error with the detailed information of the error.

4. Corrupt ntoskrnl.exe System File

As we have discussed above, ntoskrnl.exe is a well-guarded file, and to corrupt, this file is a difficult task. There is a very less probability of ntoskrnl.exe to get corrupt. But in case, if it gets corrupt, then this extension file either becomes unresponsive or stops working normally. So, it becomes difficult to decide when to write in RAM, and when to free up space. Therefore, the CPU gets loaded, and the hard drive fills up so fast.

How to Fix excess memory usage caused by ntoskrnl.exe in Windows 10?

Are you worried after identifying excess consumption of memory and abnormal working of your PC? Then you need not to. Here we will fix the excess memory usage by every possible solution. If you find any kind of high memory usages, then it is due to malware and viruses. If you have updated your Windows or installed a new device in your PC, then the reason behind memory leakage is the outdated driver. If you have encountered the issue, then proceed :

Method 1 – Update your Drivers

Always try to keep the driver updated because if the driver and operating systems are not compatible with each other, then this can cause ntoskrnl.exe high CPU or disk usage issues. For updating your driver, follow the given steps :

Step 1: Press Windows key + R simultaneously on your keyboard to open the Run In the input text option, type hdwwiz.cpl, and press Enter to open the Device Manager.

Step 2: You can also search for Control Panel in the Start In the Control Panel window, select Hardware and Sound, and then Device Manager from Devices and Printers.

Step 3: Now, click on Network Adaptors to expand the drop-down menu. Search for the driver and right-click on it. Click on Update Drivers Software

Step 4: Select Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software.

Step 5: At last, restart your PC.

Updating the driver will help you fix any harm created by any task executed on the computer. Therefore, keeping your driver up-to-date is highly recommended for fixing the possibilities of major errors.

Method 2 – Run Antimalware and Antispyware Applications to Scan Your System

Alternatively, you can try to run the anti-malware and anti-spyware applications because your PC might be prone to malware and spies, and you might be unaware of that. Many malware and spies might be present in different folders to disguise their activities, and they can lead to memory leakage, so in this case, scanning your system is preferable. These applications will help in :

  • Fixing all the issues related to malware, spies, and any other threats.
  • Scanning all the harmful files and viruses that can prove to be dangerous for your PC.
  • Removing all unnecessary files that consume lots of memory.

Now follow the given instructions :

Step 1: Download a trustworthy anti-malware or anti-spyware on your PC. You can prefer Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or SpywareBlaster. This software will protect your system from viruses, spyware, malware, and other security threats.

Step 2: After installing the software, perform a detailed scan of your computer, especially the C:\Windows\System 32 folder where ntoskrnl.exe file is located. If any malware or spy would be present on your computer, then it will list them for you.

Step 3: Fix all the threats issues, and after that, Restart your PC.

Method 3 – Disable Runtime Broker

Runtime broker is a Windows process in Task Manager that provides permission to your PC for Microsoft store apps. It first appeared in Windows 8 and is present in Windows 10 too. In some cases, this Runtime Broker leads to memory leakage, and it is denigrated as it consumes more resources and memory but does not release them after completion of the task.

As already mentioned, the runtime broker is an essential Windows process. So, Windows will not allow us to disable it permanently. Therefore, for fixing the issue, what you can do is stop the process when an error occurs and restart it again after some time.

Now, proceed with the given instructions:

Step 1: Firstly, Go to the Start Select Settings.

Step 2: Select From the left panel, choose Notifications and actions.

Step 3: You will find an option that reads Get notifications from apps and other senders. Turn the Toggle Off.

Step 4: Lastly, restart your computer.

Method 4 – Changing Registry Settings

To change the registry settings, you will need to use Windows Registry Editor. Microsoft Windows uses the Windows Registry, which is a database of settings. It stores the arrangement for hardware devices, installed applications, and the Windows operating system. Follow the steps to edit registry settings :

Step 1: Right-click the Start button and select “Run” from the options or press Windows key + R on your keyboard simultaneously.

Step 2: To open Registry Editor, in the Run dialog box, type regedit, and press Enter on the keyboard.

Step 3: A prompt or warning will open up, asking you to confirm making changes to the registry. Click Yes to continue.

Step 4: Now go to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Session Manager > Memory Management

Step 5: Select the Memory Management

Step 6: Find “Clear Page File At Shutdown” and then double click on it.

Step 7: Change the Value data value to 1. Click on OK.

Step 8: Restart your PC and check if the ntoskrnl.exe CPU usage is controlled or not.

I am hopeful that the registry will be modified, and your problem will be fixed.


Finally, if you have used any of the methods shown above, fixing the high CPU or Disk usage by ntoskrnl.exe file on Windows 10 would be quite easy. Removing the Ntodkrnl.exe file permanently is not an easy task, so this problem can occur several times. To stop high memory usage, we recommend you to always keep your drivers updated as well as keep anti-malware and anti-spyware installed on your PC.