How To Fix System Interrupts 100% CPU Usage

To fix the system interrupt task using 100% CPU, you will first need to determine the cause. 

Most often system interrupts using 100% CPU is because of a hardware error, and in those cases, replacing the faulty hardware will solve the issue. 

There are other likely causes as well, such as out-of-date drivers, malware, and even software that can cause a system interrupt task with high CPU usage on your PC.

What is system interruption and what causes it?

System interrupt is a task you can see in your task manager and is a signal that hardware is using some CPU to execute a task. The task itself is normal and supposed to be there.

You can see the details of your CPU and open tasks by pressing ctrl-alt-del and clicking on task manager. If you only see a small screen with the basics, click on more details to expand the window.

system interrupts process

When you first startup task-manager, you can see a high CPU usage on system interrupt, and this should go down to less than 5% within seconds.

Why is my CPU at 100%?

System interrupt using 100% CPU for a few seconds can be normal, especially if you have an older machine. 

You will want to find the cause to solve this issue if;

  • It happens too often
  • It happens for more than a few seconds
  • It causes other applications to malfunction
  • It causes your computer to overheat

How to Fix System Interrupts Using 100% CPU?

You can use the following steps to troubleshoot and fix the problem. This list is in order of complexity, with the easiest solutions first. They are not the most likely fix, but will take least effort to try. 

Restart Your Computer And Update Windows

As with all computer problems, the first step is to restart your computer and check if the problem persists. It is important to select restart and not turn your computer off and on. This avoid your computer going to sleep instead of turning off. 

If you still have a high CPU with system interrupt, the next step is to update your windows software. 

To do this, go to the Windows updater in your settings and manually check for updates, even if it says that you are up to date. If there are new updates, install those, restart your computer and repeat the process until there are no new updates left.

windows update 1

Run A Complete Malware And Virus Scan

Although system interrupt is a hardware issue, a virus might interfere with the correct working of your hardware, especially crypto jacking other mining viruses. It is always a good idea to do a full virus scan as a basic part of troubleshooting any PC issue.

Possible Software Causes

It is highly unlikely that software is the cause, however, deactivating some software has solved this problem before. Before you try more complicated solutions, you can disable or uninstall the following software and see if that solves the problem:

Cortana: Disabling the use of Cortana could reverse the high CPU usage because of system interrupt.

Sound effects: Third party editing software can cause issues with the hardware connected (video and sound cards). Make sure that your hardware can handle the software you want to use.

You can also try to disable sound effects. To do so, you go to the settings of your sound and edit the properties under the enhancement tab. Here you disable all sound effects and restart your computer. 

Check Your External Hardware

The most common cause of a system interrupt using a high CPU is faulty hardware. Simply disconnect all external hardware from your computer and see if the issue persists. You can also connect your hardware to a different PC or laptop to see if it causes the same problem on a different system.

If this is the cause, you can either replace the hardware or update the drivers.

Update Your Drivers

Drivers are the software that allows your hardware to communicate with the operating system. If they are not up to date, they can cause problems such as high CPU usage on system interrupts. It will also make your hardware not function as it should. 

If your hardware works as expected on a different PC, an out-of-date driver is the likely cause.

Go to device manager, select the device and right click to select update drivers.

Most reputable hardware manufacturers will also have the option to update drivers on their website.

Check Your Internal Hardware

The most common causes of CPU 100% usage by system interrupt is hardware such as network adapters, sound cards and similar upgrades to your computer hardware.

Is your battery still performing as it should?

On laptops, a faulty battery can cause the system interrupt high CPU usage as well. You can disconnect your battery and work connected to see if your laptop works better. If so, you’ll need to either disconnect the battery and use your laptop connected, or replace your battery.

Use The Check Disk Tool

Hard drives are one part of your computer you cannot disconnect to test. You can use the Windows build in check disk tool to review the state of the hard disk. 

To access this tool, you go to your folders, and right click on the c: drive. Then, you select properties, and under the tab tool, you click on Check to check for hardware errors. 

disk error checking

You can keep using your computer during the scan, but if it finds errors, it can take hours to fix them. So keep that in mind and don’t start fixing until the end of the workday (or the beginning, of course. Your call).

Update Your Drivers

Windows does not update all drivers automatically, although it does for most. If you have additional hardware installed on your computer, use device manager to update those drivers.

You can find the device manager by using the Windows built in search function. 

device manager 1

Remember to click on the little arrow to open the device before right clicking and selecting properties to check for driver updates.

Use The Device Manager To Deactivate Internal Hardware

Be careful to not disconnect hardware required to operate your computer such as the CPU, motherboard and display adapters.

You can go through the list of internal hardware one by one until you find the culprit. Use the right click to open the menu and select disable. Work your computer as normal to see if this solved the problem.

When you come across hardware that causes your high CPU usage and system interrupt, the first recourse is to manually update that driver.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, replace the faulty hardware in order to get your computer to function well again.  

Why is CPU usage 100 when nothing is running?

Your computer always uses hardware when it is turned on. Even when you do not use software, your hardware can cause 100 CPU usage.

My task manager CPU usage is 100%

In the task manager, you can click on the CPU column in order to select the applications by usage. If there is a specific software that has a high CPU usage, you can right click in order to end the process. This won’t work with system interrupt, which is why you will need to determine the cause first. 

System usage high on startup

On starting up, your computer uses a lot of hardware resources. This means that those use a lot of your CPU. As long as this is temporary, and goes down once your system is running normally, you have nothing to worry about. 

How to prevent system usage high

  • Make sure all your hardware is in optimal shape
  • Always keep your drivers up to date
  • Buy and use hardware from reputable retailers and brands
  • Maintain your computer both hardware and software
  • Keep your computer clean from dust and pet hair
  • Use disk cleaning tools regularly

Frequently Asked Questions

Is system interrupt a virus?

No, it is a normal process to indicate hardware using part of your CPU.

Can I end system interrupt in the task manager?

You cannot end this process from within the task manager since it is not a true process but just an indication of a different type of process.

Why does the task system interrupt cause my computer to freeze?

You most likely have some hardware that is malfunctioning and causing a high CPU load. Removing or replacing the faulty hardware will get your PC running smoothly again.

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