Fix 100% Disk Usage in Windows 10

High disk utilization in Windows 10 is more common problem than in previous versions of the OS. The problem looks like this: the Task Manager displays 100% disk usage and your system performance strongly decreases.

Oftenly this is happening due to incorrect system configuration or driver error (not due to malware, but there may be other variants).

In this manual we will describe in details why HDD or SSD can be utilized for 100% in Windows 10 and what to do to fix this problem.

100% Disk Usage in Windows 10

Note. Some of the proposed methods (method with registry editor) due to carelessness can lead to problems with the system boot.

Find the programs that actively using disk

Despite the fact that this reason rarely causing high HDD usage in Windows 10, we recommend you to start with it, especially if you are not an advanced user. Check if any of the running programs (possibly located in the startup) is the cause of a high disc usage.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc);
  2. Sort the processes in Disc column by clicking on its title.

100% disk usage

Please note, perhaps one of your installed programs causing the high disk usage (the first in the list in Task Manager). This can be antivirus, torrent client or simply misbehaving software. If so, you can try to delete this program from startup, completely remove it or just update to the latest version.

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Malfunctioning driver AHCI

Not many users of Windows 10 performs any action with SATA AHCI disk drivers. Most users have device named Standard controller SATA AHCI in the Device Manager in the section IDE ATA / ATAPI controllers. And this is usually not a problem.

device manager sata

However, if you constant high disk usage without the visible reasons, you need to update this driver to the one provided by the PC or laptop motherboard manufacturer. The driver is usually available on official website of the vendor. Download and install it, even if there is a driver only for previous versions of Windows.

Tip. On the vendor’s website you need to find the driver AHCI, SATA (RAID) or Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology).

sata driver version

After installation is completed, restart your computer and see if the problem still persists.

If you cannot find the official AHCI driver or the driver that is not installed correctly, the possible reason of high disk usage is that the disk controller is not supporting MSI (Message Signaled Interrupt) technology, which is enabled by default in the standard driver. This is a fairly common case.

Note. This method can fix the problem only when you are using a driver Standard controller SATA AHCI, and you set storahci.sys file in Device Manager in your driver information.

  1. Open properties of Standard controller SATA AHCI and go to the tab Details. In the list of properties select Device Instance Path and copy the path value;
    sata instance path
  2. Run Registry Editor regedit.exe and go to the following registry branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI\[your_sata_path][branch_with_random_name] Device Parameters\Interrupt Management\MessageSignaledInterruptProperties;
  3. Change the value of MSISupported parameter to 0.
    registry editor message number limit
  4. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer. Then check if the problem is fixed.
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Additional ways to fix high HDD or SSD usage in Windows 10

There are another few simple ways that can fix the high disk usage in case of some bugs in standard Windows 10 functions. If none of the above methods helped you, try to disable some Windows services using the following PowerShell commands:

  1. Disable the Superfetch Service;
    net stop SysMain
    set-service SysMain -StartupType Disable
  1. Disable Windows Search Service;
    net stop Wsearch
    set-service Wsearch -StartupType Disable
  1. Disable Prefetch in Windows 10.
    set-itemproperty -path HKLM:\SYSTEM\Current\ControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters -name EnablePrefetcher -value 0
Cyril Kardashevsky

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