What is the “System Interrupts” Process and Why is it Running on My PC?

A lot of system processes can cause the CPU usage percentage to go up higher than normal. We have helped you deal with a lot of processes that can do the same for you so that you can fix the issue and retain the performance of your computer. This article will help you fix the same, high CPU usage issue for the Windows 10 Operating System (OS), this time caused by the System Interrupts process.

What is the “System Interrupts” process?

The System Interrupts, as the name states, is not actually a Windows process or a service of any kind, even if it can be seen in the Windows Task Manager. System interrupts are a portrayal of a hardware or software component sending an interrupt signal stating that an interruption in the functioning of the system has requested more system resources to resolve the problem.

As a reaction, the computer’s processor responds to this situation by putting all the other functions on hold and rushing to the System interrupts’ aid. For example, the system interrupt occurs when video files are played, a key is pressed on the keyboard or when mouse movement is detected.

This is not a system process but actually, a frontman to every hardware interrupts that takes place in your computer. Users needn’t worry about this process using up a lot of their CPU memory, for a short period of time, since this will fix small errors.

The problem becomes bigger when the high CPU usage does not go down within some time. The normal amount of CPU memory that this process can use is from 1% to 10%.

Is the “System Interrupts” process a virus?

No, The “System interrupts” process is a legit Windows feature that appears on the Task Manager when there are certain hardware or software components of the computer, seeking more CPU memory to function, properly. This is not like the other processes that cause high CPU usage as they have .exe files or .dll files to run.

System interrupts is not a process, so it does not have an executable or a dynamic file. This is why any form of malware or virus cannot disguise itself as the System Interrupts process to avoid detection. There are some chances for viruses to disturb components that use the System interrupts feature.

Why does the System Interrupts service spike the CPU usage up?

Your CPU shouldn’t allocate usage for the System Interrupts task more than 10% for more than a short period of time. You may be looking at an exhausted CPU if the process uses a lot of RAM for an extended duration. 

This issue is generally caused by the malfunctioning of an internal or external hardware unit, some driver software, and malware.

Can I disable the System Interrupts?

No, the System Interrupts cannot be disabled through any means because it is not an actual process but a signal masquerading as a process.

Methods to Fix System Interrupts using high CPU in Windows 10

  1. Basic Workarounds
    • Reboot your PC
    • Remove all the external devices from your computer
    • Perform a full system scan
  2. Deactivate your USB root hubs
  3. Disable the Fast Startup feature
  4. Take a look at your Hardware Drivers
  5. Turn your internal devices off
  6. Reset your BIOS/UEFI settings back to default
  7. Update your BIOS/UEFI settings
  8. Disable the system’s Sound device drivers (Sound Effects)

Fixing the High CPU usage caused by the System Interrupts process on your Windows 10 

Basic Workarounds

Before going deep into fixing this issue, there are some basic steps you can take to fix this issue without any complications.

Reboot your PC

Restarting your PC removes any unsaved or unwanted changes that were not favorable to the hardware interrupts or any other feature. You just have to open the Start menu, click on the Power button and then, select Restart. Once the reboot is complete, take a look at your Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). 

Remove all the external peripherals connected to your computer

Attached devices like USB external drives, headphones, microphones, printers, splitters, your TV tuner card, and other devices (especially input devices) can be responsible for all the hardware interrupts happening and thereby, causing the high CPU usage issue in the Windows system as they can seek CPU resources for hardware interrupts. Unplug all the devices from the slots on your computer and check the CPU usage. This will also help you determine if a hardware driver is responsible for the 

Perform a full system scan

Since there is the possibility of this issue being caused by malware, you can run scans of your entire system using an antivirus program to see if it can get rid of any malware that could be causing this issue on your computer. 

Disable USB root hubs through the Windows Device Manager

  1. Launch the Device Manager window on your computer to see all the drivers on your computer. You can use the Quick link pop-up (Windows + X key) and click Device Manager on the list, the search bar on the taskbar, or by using the devmgmt.msc command in the Run tool (Windows + R).
  2. Go down to the Universal Serial Bus controllers section and expand this, by clicking on it.
The Universal Serial Bus controllers section in the Task Manager
  1. Now, right-click on the USB controller on top and select Uninstall device from the prompt menu.
The Uninstall Device option for a USB root hub
  1. Then, check if the problem persists. If it does, uninstall all the other USB controllers and see if your CPU usage falls.
  2. If nothing works, click on the Action menu in the Device Manager and select Scan for Hardware changes.
Scan for hardware changes option in the Action menu

Disable the Fast Startup feature

  1. Launch the Control Panel window, through the search bar or the Start menu.
  2. Open the Hardware and Sound settings from the main page.
The Hardware and Sound settings in the Control Panel main page
  1. Click on the Change what power buttons do link under the Power Options section.
The Power Options menu in the Hardware and Sound settings
  1. If it is enabled, click on the Turn on fast startup checkbox to disable it. 
The Turn on Fast startup check box in the Shutdown settings section

If this option isn’t available click on the Change settings that are currently unavailable link at the top.

The Change settings that are currently unavailable link
  1. Save the changes that were made just now for them to be implemented.

Update the Windows Operating System and your Hardware Drivers

  1. Open the Windows settings by pressing the Windows and I keys together or through the left panel of the Start menu.
The Settings main page
  1. Go into the Update & Security tile and then, click on the Check for updates button.
The Windows Update page
  1. If there are updates, you’ll see the Download and install button. Click on it.
Updates being downloaded in the Windows Update page
  1. Once the downloads have finished, reboot your PC for them to be installed.
  2. You can also go to the Device Manager, right-click on the driver that you want to update, and select Update Driver for one device at a time. This is used for getting driver updates. 

Disable internal devices on your system

  1. Open Device Manager on your computer to see every driver available on your computer. You can use the Quick link menu (Windows + X key), the search bar on the taskbar, or the devmgmt.msc command in the Run utility (Windows + R). Alternatively, one can type Device Manager in the search bar and launch the best result.
The Device Manager window
  1.  Expand the following sections by clicking on them:
    1. Disk Drives
The Disk Drive section
  1. Network Adapter
List of Network Adapters
  1. Display Adapters
The Graphics cards in the computer, listed in the Display Adapters section
  1. Sound, Video, and game controllers
The Sound, video and game controllers section in the Device Manager
  1. Audio inputs and outputs
The Speaker and Microphone in the Audio inputs and outputs section
  1. Right-click on each device and select Disable device from their respective context menus. 
The Disable device option in the Microphone context menu

This is the process of disabling individual device drivers.

  1. If you want to replace them back, restart your computer or click on the Device Manager’s Action menu and choose Scan for Hardware changes.

Do not disable the System Device and Processor devices, under any circumstances, even if they are internal devices.  

Reset your BIOS/UEFI settings back to default

The Phoenix BIOS menu

 Resetting the BIOS settings back to their defaults might help you fix System Interrupts high CPU usage issue on your system. There are no specific instructions that can help you reset the BIOS settings as the interface of the BIOS menu changes with every motherboard brand.

You have to stop the booting process by pressing the F10, F12, or Delete keys to bring up the BIOS menu. Press F2 to open the BIOS settings, where you should be able to find the option to reset this. Once the process is complete, press the F10 key to save the changes and restart the computer. 

Update your BIOS/UEFI settings

  1. Launch the Command Prompt tool, by searching for cmd in the search box or running this command in the Run tool.
  2. In the black window, copy and paste this command from here:
systeminfo | findstr /I /c:bios
  1. Execute this command and then, type in:
wmic bios get manufacturer, smbiosbiosversion
  1. You’ll be able to see what BIOS version is installed on your computer.
The BIOS version for a computer

If you are behind on BIOS updates, download the latest version from the system manufacturer’s website onto a USB drive and use the BIOS menu to update the motherboard software.

If you do not know how to launch the BIOS, restart your system and press the F10, F12, or Del key to interrupt the boot and take you to the BIOS menu. Follow the above steps only when your system does not have BIOS update utilities and you have to use the PC’s documentation.

Disable the system’s Sound device drivers (Sound Enhancement and Sound Effects)

  1. Open the context menu of the Sound icon, by right-clicking on the sound icon in the task tray or near it.
The Speaker icon in the task tray area
  1.  Select the Playback devices option from the menu.
  2. Open the playback device, which is being used, and then click on the Enhancements tab.
List of Playback devices in the Sound tab
  1. Click on the Disable all enhancements checkbox to disable it.
  2. Save these changes by clicking on the Ok button.

There is interrupt handler software that can be used to hold the system interrupts in check. You can also use them to fix the System interrupts high CPU usage issues, without any complications. 

If all the above steps do not help you fix this issue, you might be in need of a RAM or processor replacement or upgrade. Talk to a service professional and they will help you if this is your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is system interrupts using so much CPU?

The System interrupts is an essential Windows component that requests CPU resources when there are hardware devices that interrupt the processor’s functioning to finish the job they are working in. The System interrupts high CPU usage issues is caused by dysfunctional internal or external hardware, some driver software, and malicious files.

How do I fix high system interrupts?

You can fix the System interrupts high CPU usage issue by resetting or updating the BIOS settings, disabling your USB root hub, turning off the available internal devices, and updating the OS and the hardware drivers. 

Are system interrupts bad?

System interrupts help fix minor errors on your computer. It is only bad for your computer memory when this feature does not close within a small period of time and uses a high percentage of your CPU.

How do I reduce system interrupts?

If you face the System interrupts high CPU usage issue, you can try resetting or updating the BIOS settings, disabling your USB root hub, turning off the available internal devices, and updating the OS and the hardware drivers.