14 Best Ways to Fix 100% Disk Usage on Windows 10

One of the most common problems for any device, with a comparatively small amount of storage, is the insufficient storage issue or the storage is full issue. This is not a good position for anyone with a computer or a smartphone to be in. 

You will not be able to store other data on your storage. You might even have to purchase an additional storage unit or attach a new hard disk (SSD or HDD). 

But there are a number of other methods that can be used to resolve a 100% disk usage issue on your computer. This article is dedicated to helping you fix the 100% disk usage on your computer. Enjoy!

For your queries on problems with your existing or new SSD, we have an article. Here’s what to do when your SSD is not showing up on your Windows Explorer or Device Management.

What Does 100% Disk Usage Mean?

When you open the Task Manager, you should be able to see how much of the hard disk on your computer is used on your computer on the upper details rack, in the Disk column. 

The highlighted Disk Column in the Windows Task Manager, displaying the very less usage of the Hard Disk on the writer's computer

This will tell you how much percentage of your hard drive is being used at the moment. If you notice that your computer is slower than usual, you will have to open your Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc or select Task Manager after you press Ctrl + Alt + Del, together) and you will see how much the disk is occupied. 

The higher the occupancy; the Slower the computer; If your Task Manager displays that the system has been using a lot of drive, it means that your computer can not lend its hard disk space for your usage anymore. Extended usage of this high usage of the disk can render your computer slow-moving or inefficient. 

Why is the Disk Usage High?

If you notice that the Disk Usage is unusually high on your computer, there could be a number of reasons why this is happening. It may either be one of the following causes or a combination of these causes:

  1. The Windows Superfetch could be causing high disk usage on your computer, scrutinizing the patterns in which you use the system. 
  2. There are more apps running in the foreground and/or background than your computer and the RAM can handle. 
  3. Some system bugs could be hyperactive on your computer, involving creating useless, temporary files that are not more than 1 kilobyte in size.
  4. The driver or the driver software that is responsible for the functioning of the hard disk could be outdated. There are also the possibilities of the presence of a driver bug that could be causing this problem.
  5. A malicious file or a virus could be forcing your Operating System to use the disk to a maximum extent, without you knowing it, without any symptoms. 

The Symptoms for 100% Disk Usage on Windows 10

If your system has used 100% of the disk usage or is nearing 100% disk usage, this is what you can experience while using your computer, if you have a full hard disk. 

  1. If you try to open a folder containing media files, like photos, videos, and/or songs, it might take a long time to load all the folder contents. 
  2. When you launch a game, it could be very choppy and you may not get the number of frames you would expect the program to run in.
  3. If your computer is old and has a bulkier hard disk, you might hear whirring noises from the computer cabinet. 
  4. You will see that the Disk usage in the Disk column of the Task Manager, is higher than normal or is at 100%.
  5. If you have Steam, Spotify, or Flash running on your computer, you need to know that these files can take up a lot of disk usage.
  6. Everything is slow and the response time (ms) is very high i.e, normal clicks on the computer take a long time to react.
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14 Ways to Fix a 100% Disk Usage in Windows 10

If you have a computer that has been displaying signs/symptoms of having the 100% Disk Usage issue, these are what you can do to look into the problem and fix it. 

  1. Reboot your computer OS
  2. Fix your system’s StorAHCI.sys driver
  3. Look for Software and Windows updates
  4. Run a scan for Malicious files and viruses
  5. Disabling Windows Search feature
  6. Disable the Windows Superfetch Tool
  7. Change your Energy settings from Balanced to High Performance
  8. End all the applications that occupy a lot of disk
  9. Disable Diagnostic Tracking
  10. Disable Your Antivirus Software, temporarily
  11. Reset Virtual Memory on your computer
  12. Run a Check Disk (CHKDSK) scan
  13. Change your Google Chrome and Skype Settings
  14. Clean your drive or reset your computer

Fixes To Solve High Disk Usage In Windows 10

Solution 1: Restart the Operating System

This is one of the easiest fixes to implement on your computer. Restarting your computer can reset the settings configuration, which was temporary. 

The Restart button in the Windows Start menu

One simply has to click on the Start button, click on the Power button on the left panel and choose Restart for your computer to begin rebooting. 

Solution 2: Repair the StorAHCI.sys Driver

Sometimes, there are chances that the 100% disk usage issue will be caused by a firmware bug in the StorAHCI.sys. The Advanced Host Controller Interface PCI-Express is a driver that lets the computer enable or disable Serial ATA (SATA) commands on your computer. If this has a bug in it, this will push your disk to maximum usage. 

These are the steps to fix your StorAHCI.sys driver if you suspect a firmware bug:

  1. You have to open the Device Manager, first. You have to launch the Run command (Press Windows key + R key) and type in devmgmt.msc
The Run tool with the command for launching the Device Management
  1. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + X key on your keyboard and choose the Device Manager option from the menu. This menu also comes up when you right-click on the Start button. 
  2. Under the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller section, double-click on the Standard SATA AHCI controller under it, to open the properties. 
The Specific IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers that has to be repaired
  1. Go to the Driver tab, click on the Driver Details button.
The Properties window for the SATA AHCI Controller which has to be repaired
  1. If you see that the StorAHCI.sys is located inside a directory through the System32 folder, it means that the system is using the inbox AHCI driver. 
  2. In the same Properties window, Exit the Driver details and click on the Details tab.
  3. In the Property drop-down menu, choose Device Instance Path and note the location of the Value, which starts with VEN.
The Properties window for the SATA AHCI Controller which has to be repaired, with the location of the Value in the Registry Editor
  1. Close these windows and open the Registry Editor. You can search for it in the Windows search bar on your taskbar or open the Run tool, type in regedit, and hit enter
  2. Follow this path on the left pane to reach the virtual destination:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System > CurrentControlSet > Enum > PCI > {Your AHCI Controller} > {Number that varies for each computer} > Device Parameters > Interrupt Management > MessageSignaledInterruptProperties

The Location of the value that has to be changed in the Registry Editor
  1. Open the MSISupported and change the Value data to 0.
  2. After this, restart your computer and see if the Disk utilization is still high in the Task Manager. 

Solution 3: Check for Software and Windows Updates

Sometimes the latest update of the Windows Operating System can have the features to fix any issue or bugs that are present in the present version of the OS. 

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You can check if you have any Windows Updates, in the Windows Settings. You can find them in the Updates & Security section. 

The Windows Update window in the Update & Security options in the Windows Settings

Click on the Check for updates, to see if any updates are out. Most patch updates come out on the second Tuesday of every month. This should set the computer’s disk usage returns to normal. 

Solution 4: Check For Malicious Software

Since there are possibilities of the high disk usage issue being caused by malicious files or viruses on your computer, it is recommended that you run full-system scans to check for suspicious files. Proper antivirus software should be able to find and locate harmful files and remove them. 

The Windows Defender might cause problems but the Windows Defender is inevitable. You will need trustable antivirus programs to run scans on your computer. You should be able to see “Run Scan” or a similar button, that lets you scan the hard disk completely and quarantine or remove files that are harmful. If some essential files are found to be harmful, you can whitelist them. 

Solution 5: Disable Windows Search Feature

The Search feature can cause your disk utilization to be pumped up. Disabling Windows search service can be of help to your hard disk.

  1. Open the Command Prompt window as the administrator. Search for it and choose Run as Administrator.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
net.exe stop “Windows search”
The Command Prompt command for disabling the Windows Search Feature permanently

You can permanently disable Windows Search with these steps:

  1. Open the Run tool (Windows + R key)
  2. Type in services.msc and click Ok. The Services window opens. 
  3. Locate the Windows Search entry, right-click on it, and choose Stop
The Windows Search service in the Services tab and the pop-up menu for stopping the process

Solution 6: End the Windows Superfetch Tool

The Windows Superfetch feature controls the response time and launching applications on your computer. Since this involves applications running, this may cause a 100% disk usage issue on your computer. 

You have to open the Command Prompt tool as an admin and enter this command:

net.exe stop superfetch
The Command Prompt command for stopping the Superfetch feature

You can permanently stop this, through the Services tab. 

Solution 7: Set your Energy Preferences to High Performance

This is how you can change your energy settings on your computer:

  1. Open your Control Panel.
  2. Click on the Hardware and Sound settings and choose Power Options.
  3. Select Plan Settings.
  4. Choose Change advanced power settings
  5. In the drop-down box, choose High Performance.
The Power options window to change the battery usage

Solution 8: End all applications that use a lot of disk

You’ll be able to see which processes cause high-disk usage in the Task Manager. 

  1. Open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc or select Task Manager after pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete). 
  2. Click on the title of the Disk column, twice. The processes will be arranged on the basis of the highest disk usage to the lowest. 
  3. Select the processes at the top of the list and then click on End Task

Solution 9: Disable Your Antivirus Software for a short-term

Disable antivirus software on your computer to see if it helps with the 100% disk usage situation. Halt the functioning of the Antivirus to see if it helps. If it does not, you can change the antivirus programs. 

Solution 10: Reset Virtual Memory in Windows 10

The Virtual Memory considers your system disk to be its RAM. It replaces temp files itself when there is no space in the RAM. Resetting the virtual memory may help if you think this is the cause of the full disk problem.

Here’s how you can reset your computer’s Virtual memory: 

  1. Open the Control Panel, go to the System and Security options & go into the System sub-settings.
  2. From the left panel, choose Advanced System settings. You’ll be taken to the System Properties window. 
The System properties window in the Advanced settings
  1. In the Advanced System Settings, Choose Settings, under the Performance category. 
  2. Open the Advanced tab and select Change, under the Virtual Memory section.
The Performance options window with the Virtual Memory section
  1. Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size checkbox. Choosing the No Paging file option is also a choice if you opt to keep the Automatically manage paging file size unchecked. 
The Automatically manage paging file size for all drives checkbox in the Virtual Memory properties
  1. Choose the Windows drive in which you have Windows installed and type in the Initial and Maximum size to be allotted as your Virtual Memory values. Select Set and Ok.
  2. Open the Run tool and run the Temp command. This will invoke Windows Explorer, specifically getting the Temp folder open. This is where the OS will temporarily store files on the computer.  
The Temp folder containing all the temporary files that have to be deleted
  1. Delete all the temp files in the folder. Once done, check the Task Manager for the disk usage. 
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Solution 11: Run the Check Disk (CHKDSK) scan

The CHKDSK scan is used to test the integrity of files on your drive. This can solve the computer’s disk usage issue. 

  1. Open the Command Prompt as the administrator, type this command :
chkdsk ‘disk letter’: /f /r /x
The CHKDSK command in the Command Prompt window
  1. Press Enter and it’ll ask you if you can schedule a scan when you reboot your system the next time. Type in Y and press Enter
  2. Restart your computer and your system files and software will be checked for corrupt or junk files and fix them. 

Solution 12: Change your Google Chrome and Skype Settings

In the Chrome browser, some settings have to be modified to fix the computer’s disk usage issue. 

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser and type in chrome://settings in the address bar.
  2. In the Chrome settings, expand the Advanced settings, on the left pane.
  3. In the Privacy section, click on the Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly toggle switch and turn it off. 
  4. It is recommended that you disable Flash.

Making little changes in the Skype client is also recommended:

  1. Open the Skype properties, by right-clicking on the Skype.exe in the Program Files (x86) location
  2. Go to the Settings, click on the Security tab and select Edit.
  3. Select All Application Packages and click on the Write option to enable writing to her disk. 
  4. Then, click Ok, to save the changes. 

Solution 13: Perform a Factory Reset

Resetting your computer might also help. 

  1. Open the Windows settings
  2. Go into the Updates & Security settings. 
  3. Choose Recovery, from the left pane. 
  4. Under the Reset this PC section, click on Get started.
The Recovery settings containing the Reset this PC option in the Windows Settings
  1. Follow the instructions to reset your PC.

This will clean your hard disk and install Windows again. This will set the settings configuration to default and fix detected errors. Back up your files to the cloud or an external storage device, before you get on with the resetting process. 

Solution 14: Disable Windows Update Service

Sometimes the Windows Update service could be causing you trouble. 

Here are the steps for you to stop the Windows Update service: 

  1. Open the Run tool (Windows + R key or search in the Windows Search bar).
  2. Type in services.msc and click Ok to launch the Services window.
  3. Find the Windows update service and open it. 
  4. Click on the Startup type drop-down menu, and select Disabled
The Windows Update properties window through with the sub-settings are arranged to disable the Windows Update feature
  1. Choose Apply and Ok to save the changes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my disk usage at 100%?

The Disk usage on your computer is at 100% because of a number of reasons. It could be a number of active applications, outdated drivers, the Windows Superfetch service, or a system bug that causes this issue on computers.

Is it bad if your disk is at 100?

It is normal for applications like Steam and the Flash player update wizard to cause 100% disk usage on computers, for a short amount of time. But, It is quite harmful to your computer if the disk usage remains at 100% for an extended period of time.

Will a new hard drive fix 100 disk usage?

A new hard drive will just help in the faster-than-usual reading and writing of data on the drive. The 100% disk usage issue requires something that looks into the high disk usage. Therefore, a new hard drive will not fix the 100% disk usage error, even an SSD.

Why do I see high disk usage in Windows 10?

The high disk usage may be caused by running applications, old driver software, bugs, or malware. During this time, you will have to operate a very slow-moving computer.

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