One of the problems that cause your computer to freeze and slow down. is high disk usage. Disk usage is a measure that describes how much of the hard disk (where Windows 10 is installed) is in use. Depending on multiple factors such as the disk's own read and write capacity, the applications used, background processes, lack of RAM and even viruses or malware are going to affect high disk usage. In this post you will know how all these tasks and processes intervenes as well as the solutions you can apply to get rid of this problem.
High disk usage is a very common problem in many computers, which makes your computer to slow down, freeze and for obvious reasons it makes very difficult to work or use any application. The fact that it is something so well-known, makes the solutions become diverse and that there are very effective methods to do it without having to carry out complex maneuvers in most cases. Before the solutions are explained, it is prudent to know what is high disk usage as well as the reasons why this problem can happen on your PC.
All the disks have a limit capacity of reading and writing, for the hard disks, this is from 100 mbps to 150 mbps on average; In the case of solid state drives, the speed can increase to 500 mbps or more, depending on the device model. Any process carried out in the operating system will make the disk read and / or write process be used and, depending on what is done, a part of its capacity will be used.
Most of the tasks that Windows needs to function occupy a minimum amount of disk usage, however, there are applications that need more, since they activate processes that require more disk usage to work correctly. In addition to this, we must bear in mind that, when using the browser, watching videos, opening documents, deleting information and even when the system starts or shuts down, they need processes so that everything can be done, which will make To a greater or lesser degree, the disk's ability to read and write is required.
Also, as described, depending on the model of the disk, it will be possible to make more use of processes and applications with more sophisticated requirements. A solid state drive can quadruple the read and write capacity of a conventional hard disk, however, this does not exempt it from being able to present a high disk usage.
In most cases, closing the applications or even restarting the computer may be enough to get your disk to work as before; however, if this problem persists, it means that something is wrong and that for obvious reasons it should be fixed. The following part will describe some reasons why your disk may have a high disk usage, even at 100%.
There are several reasons why task manager can show that your disk usage is 100%, the most common are listed below:
Lack of RAM: RAM (Ram Access Memory) the main memory of the system, is a bridge between the operating system, software and hardware allowing them to get a constant exchange of information; for this reason, RAM has a high speed of reading and writing and helps the processes to be carried out quickly and smoothly. If the RAM that your PC has is not enough, your disk will have to work harder to process all the information. Currently 8GB of RAM should be enough but there are many applications that may struggle with less than 16GB of RAM such as video editing software, 3d modeling software, raster graphics editors or video games.
Hard Drive wear: Hard drive disks have moving components inside. Over time, these devices experience wear and tear and this wear can gradually decrease the performance of the device. It is easy to notice when an HDD suffers from wear and tear because they tend to show higher Disk usage in the Task manager and gradually become noisier because their internal mobile components struggle to work correctly.
Malware attack: There is sophisticated malware designed to hide its traces of resource consumption and in this way prevent it from being discovered by the protection systems of your computer. To know if a Malware is consuming the resources of your computer, it is advisable to monitor the consumption of the applications you use, if they have a suspicious consumption of RAM or Disk Usage, it is possible that your computer has been infected with malware.
If you have problems with disk usage at 100%, do not worry, there are some methods that can definitively solve this problem. Below I’ll talk about them.
"CHKDSK" is a tool incorporated in Microsoft Windows operating systems that you can access through "Command Prompt". This tool is capable of checking the integrity of the file system of the disks and will carry out a repair and recovery process if it finds damaged sectors or corrupted information.
Step 1: Run Command Prompt as administrator
You can access this tool by typing "cmd” or “command prompt" in the Windows menu browser (don't forget to run in administrator mode)
Step 2: Run CHKDSK fix
Once you have opened “Command Prompt” in administrator mode, enter the following code “chkdsk c: / f”
As I mentioned before, Malware attack is one of the most common reasons for 100% Disk usage and the simplest way to fix this problem is by running a virus scan through Windows Defender. Below I’ll show you how to do it.
Step 1: Open Windows Defender settings
Click on the Windows icon and type “Windows Defender” on the search box. Then click on “Windows Defender settings.”
Step 2: Open Windows Defender Security Center
On the Windows Defender settings window, click on “Open Windows Defender Security Center.”
Step 3: Open Virus & threat protection window
Now click on “Virus & threat protection.”
Step 4: Start scanning
Click on “Scan now” and Windows Defender will automatically search for virus and malware.
It is important to remember that Drivers are absolutely necessary for your computer hardware to function properly. When a driver is not updated, Windows will continue to try indefinitely to access a Driver that allows it to maintain control of the installed Hardware and this can generate high consumption in RAM and Disk usage. Fortunately, this problem is easy to solve. Below I’ll show you how to do it.
Step 1: Open “Windows Settings”
There are several ways to access Windows settings but the easiest one is by clicking on the “gear” icon at the left side of the Windows menu.
Step 2: Go to “Update & Security”
Once you’ve accessed to the “Windows Settings” menu, click on “Update & Security”
Step 3: Click on Check for updates
Now all you have to do is click on the “Check for Updates” button and Windows will automatically search for and install any available updates.
In some cases, Windows Search Service can generate problems as Disk usage at 100%. This Windows service is responsible for managing and loading recurring applications and files into temporary memory so that they are indexed efficiently and so you can quickly find and open them, however, this process is not really necessary and may be the cause of problem. Below I will show you how to disable this service.
Step 1: Go to “Open Services”
To access this option, you must open the Windows task manager. You can do this by pressing the Control + Shift + Esc keys. Once you have opened the task manager, go to the "Services" section and click on the "Open Services" option located at the bottom of the window.
Step 2: Open Windows Search properties
Once inside the services configuration, search for "Windows Search", right-click on its name and select the "Properties" option.
Step 3: Disable Windows Search service
A pop-up window will be displayed from which you must change the status of the service to "Disabled", when finished, click "Apply" and then "OK" to finish.
Replacing your HDD with an SSD is a practically foolproof solution. If with the previous methods you did not manage to solve the problem, this option may save you a lot of time and effort. Replacing an HDD with an SSD is as simple a task as plugging in a pair of cables and adding a few screws, however you will likely want to recover the information that you have stored on your HDD. Under normal circumstances, it would be enough to copy the files from the device and move them to the new device, but in this case it is not recommended to carry out this process in this way, because if your disk is failing due to wear and tear, the information is likely to be damaged during the data transfer process. Fortunately, there are professional alternatives to solve problems like this. I personally recommend Recoverit. This software is extremely easy to use. This software was designed to recover data from damaged and even formatted storage devices, so it will not be a problem to recover your entire files. Below I will show you how to use it.
Step 1: Choose a drive to scan
Once you’ve installed and opened the software, select the drive where the data to recover was located
Step 2: Select the files to recover/restore
Now all you have to do is select the folder or folders you want to recover/restore and click on “Recover”.
Unfortunately, the high rates of Disk usage in Windows 10 is a common problem, however there are methods like the ones I mentioned in this post that can definitively fix this problem, however it is important to remember that the main cause of this problem It is due to the wear and tear of the mobile parts of the hard drive, for this reason, many people decide to replace their hard drives with solid state drives, also, thanks to tools like Recoverit you can recover data from worn out storage drives without the risk of losing data.