Why Ntoskrnl.Exe Causes High CPU and How To Fix It

We have been discussing a lot of processes that can cause high CPU usage. The next one in the series is the Ntoskrnl.exe. This is another process that can appear to be dangerous to computer users. This article is to assure you that this Ntoskrnl.exe high CPU process is in no way a threat to your computer. 

What is Ntoskrnl.exe?

The ntoskrnl.exe, short for Windows NT Operating System kernel, is one of the most important process and memory management activities that run in the Windows 10 OS. The ntoskrnl.exe is a system process that takes care of memory-related processes in the computer. 

It gives the kernel and also the executive layers of the Microsoft Windows NT System kernel and is also in charge of the system processes and data like hardware virtualization, process management, and memory management. 

Therefore, this makes the ntoskrnl.exe an important activity on your computer. This fundamental part of the Windows 10 OS is also responsible for various system services like cache manager, the executive, the kernel, the security reference monitor, the memory manager, and the scheduler. This is also a highly exclusive process and therefore, it is protected. 

In this case, the ntoskrnl.exe sends commands to parts of the computer to run correctly, and carry out orders given by the user. This is an essential part of Windows OS, which is nothing without this executable/process. 

For those who do not know what a kernel is, it is a script that links the hardware and software components of a computer. 

The problems caused by Ntoskrnl.exe

One error the ntoskrnl.exe can cause on your Windows 10 computer is when it uses your RAM, more than normal. If you open your Task Manager, you will be able to locate the ntoskrnl.exe, after a bit of searching for it. This process shouldn’t occupy much of your CPU memory. 

But if you see that it has been using a lot of RAM, it means that something is not right. High usage of the RAM can stop other programs or services from running. This is risky and extended high CPU usage can cause damage to the CPU. 

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It can also cause the BSOD to appear. The BSOD or the Blue Screen of Death appears with the issue specified on it, every time a fatal error occurs on your PC. 

This executable is also known to cause crashes in the OS. 

Why do I see these errors?

There is no known reason why these problems come up. Though there are many reports of this issue, no specific reason has been known to cause this issue. There are some suspicious reasons that could be causing this problem on your computer.

This can be because the ntoskrnl.exe files are missing from your computer. Or there are chances that these problems are caused by malware or a virus file, masquerading in the form of the legit ntoskrnl.exe. 

These are some possible reasons that may be causing this problem in your system. 

  1. Your computer may have driver updates to download
  2. Your RAM sticks may be loose or damaged
  3. Your processor could have overclocked
  4. Your CPU and the storage might be full
  5. You could have corrupt system files on your computer

The Windows 10 Ntoskrnl.Exe BSOD

If the executable causes you to see a Blue Screen on Death, there are a few symptoms you might be able to notice, as you use the computer:

  1. Your system might be functioning slowly.
  2. Overheating issues can occur
  3. Your computer might reboot, automatically, at random

Ntoskrnl.exe and the system crashings

Sometimes the ntoskrnl.exe program can cause your OS to crash. This is one of the many reasons your computer crashes or reboots without warning. This probably happens because you are overclocking your device. This is not something you wish to do without a powerful processor. 

Corrupt or Missing ntoskrnl.exe

If your ntoskrnl.exe is corrupt or missing, this will create a problem in the functioning of the OS, as any important file would. You can run a simple DISM scan to check the integrity of this file and other system files & services.

Ways to fix the Ntosknrl.exe error on Windows 10 Computers

There are a number of simple ways and some modifications that you need to implement on your computer to fix this problem. We have curated every fix, based on the source of the problem and what can be done to uproot it. 

Method 1: Update Your System Hardware Drivers

These drivers are important for the proper functioning of each component of the system. For instance, there are specific drivers for each aspect of the computer like networking, graphics, processors, and more. It is important that all your drivers are up-to-date. Some drivers are responsible for the ntoskrnl.exe to run on the PC. If these drivers are not updated, it may cause problems.

These are the steps to see if you have pending updates for your system.

  1. Open the Run tool, by searching for it in the Search bar or pressing the Windows key and the R key, together. 
  2. In the Open field, type in hdwwiz.cpl and press Enter key or Press Ok.
In the Open field, type in hdwwiz.cpl and press Enter key or Press Ok.
  1. This opens the Device Manager. You’ll see a menu of all the devices, which need drivers to run. 
This opens the Device Manager. You’ll see a menu of all the devices, which need drivers to run
  1. Click on the device, the driver of which needs to be updated
Click on the device, the driver of which needs to be updated
  1. Right-click on it and choose Update Driver from this.
  2. You will be asked to choose if you have an update on your PC and or if you have to install an update from the internet. 
  3. Choose one and the download will begin, based on your choice.
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       Do not leave a Windows update pending.

Method 2: Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool scan

The Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool is a utility that is a troubleshooter, exclusively, for fixing system memory-based issues. 

Here are the steps to run this tool:

  1. Exit all the windows that are open in your foreground and open the Start Menu.
  2. Search for Windows Memory Diagnostic in the search bar on your Task Bar.
  3. Open the best result, from the search results. 
Search for Windows Memory Diagnostic in the search bar on your Task Bar.
  1. Select Restart Now and Check for problems
Select Restart Now and Check for problems
  1. This will restart your PC and it will scan itself. This will take some time, depending on the capacity of the computer’s RAM. You will be able to see the results when you boot up your PC the next time.

Method 3: Run a few Command Prompt commands

A few Command Prompt commands can run some scans, which will help wipe out the problem-causing agents on your PC. This is not just for the ntoskrnl.exe error, but also for other system issues.

If you suspect corrupt files to cause this problem, you can run the System File Checker (SFC) to locate and repair the corrupted files. 

These are the steps to run an SFC scan: 

  1. Open the Command Prompt tool as an administrator. Search for it and choose Run as Administrator to do so.
Open the Command Prompt tool as an administrator. Search for it and choose Run as Administrator to do so.
  1. In the Command Prompt window, type in 
sfc /scannow
Type "sfc /scannow" in Command Prompt
  1. Press the Enter button to start the scan. 

Your Windows PC will be checked for corrupt or missing files. They will be repaired, automatically, if it is with the abilities of the SFC tool menu. If not, the users will have to download them. 

Do not shut down or restart, while the process runs. 

You can check the integrity of your files on the hard disk using the CHKDSK command. This is another command that will help you find and repair corrupted system files. Save your Registry.

Here are the steps to run the CHKDSK scan:

  1. Open the Command Prompt, type this :
chkdsk ‘disk letter’: /f /r /x
Type "chkdsk ‘disk letter’: /f /r /x" in Command prompt
  1. Press Enter and it’ll ask you if you can schedule a scan when you reboot your system the next time. Type Y and press the Enter key. 
  2. Restart the PC and it will check your PC and software for errors and fix them. 
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Method 4: Reset the Overclocking Settings configuration on your System

You can fix this by modifying the overclocking settings on your computer with the help of the BIOS/UEFI. Each device has a unique method to access the motherboard, look it up on the manual that came with your system or on the website of the motherboard you use. If you use a laptop you can find the instructions on the brand site.

Method 5: Perform a System Restore

The System Restore tool brings your system to a state it was in during a time, that was saved with all the configurations. 

To fix this, You could create restore points to reset your PC to a phase where it functioned without the problems, which you suspect to be caused by the ntoskrnl.exe error.

  1.  Type in System Restore in the search bar and open the best match.
Type in System Restore in the search bar and open the best match.
  1. The System Properties window opens. Under the System Protection tab, click on the System Restore button.
The System Properties window opens. Under the System Protection tab, click on the System Restore button
  1. Choose where you want your restore point to be and click Next.
Choose where you want your restore point to be and click Next.
  1. If available, you can see other restore points and their details.
  2. Click Finish and then, Yes, when the system prompts. 

These are the steps to create a System Restore Point on your Windows 10 system. Backup your registry, beforehand.

Method 6: Check Your RAM

It is possible that your RAM sticks or Solid State Drives (SSD) became loose inside your CPU cabinet. Open your CPU case and check if the RAM sticks are locked in. There are chances that the SSD disk got out of the sockets or the RAM locks popped out. 

You will have to pop it back in, manually, or buy a new RAM or an SSD. If your OS data is installed on the SS disk, you will have to install the OS again.

These are your best methods to fix ntoskrnl.exe on your Microsoft Windows 10 PC. 

Do check out our article on How to turn on or off Filter Keys in Windows 10

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix the Ntoskrnl.exe error?

If you have ntoskrnl.exe errors, install the latest Windows update file, change your overclock settings and run the SFC and CHKDSK scans. 

What causes Ntoskrnl.exe BSOD error?

Ntoskrnl.exe errors are caused by damaged hardware, a corrupt file, or outdated software.

What is the Ntoskrnl.exe driver?

It is a pre-installed memory management process that is a fundamental part of the Windows OS. It is responsible for memory-related functioning. 

What is Ntoskrnl in the boot process?

Ntoskrnl is a service that manages memory and memory-related settings configuration and their functioning in the Microsoft Windows OS.