Your computer may slow down if your system has high disk usage. In the long run, increased disk usage shortens the life of your hardware. Consistent 100% disk usage may indicate that you need to upgrade to a newer PC or invest in component upgrades.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Because the cause can range from a hardware to a software issue. Here are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve 100% Disk Usage.
Steps to Fix 100% Disk Usage
Using Task Manager
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc together to open Task Manager.
- Under the Processes tab, click on the Disk column to sort by disk usage.
- Select the activity that’s taking the highest usage.
- Select End task.
Turn off Background Apps
- In the Start Menu, type background apps and press Enter.
- Under Background apps, turn the toggle button off to turn off running apps in the background.
- If you need to run some background apps, scroll down and change the setting at the individual app level.
Disable Background File Indexing
- In the Start Menu, type indexing and select Indexing Options.
- Select Modify.
- Under the selected locations, expand to see disk contents.
- Uncheck indexing for each location you don’t want to index.
- Select OK.
Turn Off Diagnostic Data and Feedback
- In the Start Menu, type diagnostics and select Diagnostics & Feedback settings.
- Under Tailored experiences, turn off sharing your data using the toggle button.
- Under Delete diagnostic data, select Delete.
Pause Windows Updates
- In the Start Menu, type Windows updates and press Enter.
- Under Windows Update settings, select Pause updates for 7 days.
- If you want to change duration, go to the Advanced options and select duration up to 35 days.
Run Disk Defragmentation
- In the Start Menu, type defragment and select Defragment and optimize drives.
- Under the list of partitions, select the first drive C.
- Select Optimize.
- Wait until the optimization completes.
- Repeat for each additional partition.
Change Scheduled Scans
Scheduled scans start at exact times and take up all your system resources at those times. You should either change scheduled scan times outside your regular usage time range. Or, you should pause them altogether. Check your anti-virus software to see how you can change scheduled scan settings. Consider changing scan frequency from every day to three or four times a week at most.
Change File Syncs Settings
File syncs are associated with file backups in cloud storage. Backing up your files is important and should not be turned off unless you have other means of recovery.
Having said that, file backups take up a majority of system usage including disk. The more files you sync from the PC, the higher the disk usage. Hence, you should take the following tips in mind changing file sync settings.
- Only backup important files
- Don’t back up the entire disk or a very large number of files
- Avoid backing up downloadable files
- Change sync frequency. Higher frequencies mean more disk usage spikes
- Pause syncs during active PC usage
Reopen Your Browser Tabs
Modern websites provide the best browsing experience at the cost of disk usage. Opening a large number of concurrent tabs results in more usage of system resources. Some websites are so heavy they may stop functioning altogether. If that is the case, try closing all browser tabs first. Then, open the ones that you need one by one.
If you get high disk usage regularly, consider using a minimal number of tabs. If that doesn’t work, try switching to a different browser and see if that helps.
If none of the above methods work, it means that your PC is running low on hardware specifications. To meet the current demand, you have to invest in upgrading your hardware. When we talk about disk usage, typically you will need to look into upgrading two things, Disk and RAM.
Newer SSDs are slowly replacing traditional hard drives. The price of solid-state drives keeps declining every year. Soon they will catch up with traditional drives and replace them completely. Mechanical drives are limited in their read/write speeds.
Also, they are more subject to wear and tear. But SSDs easily outlast older drives. It is possible to replace your internal hard disk with an SSD easily available on the market.
RAM plays a vital role in disk usage. You may have heard the term virtual memory before. When your system RAM is fully utilized, Windows reserves a virtual memory in your hard disk. The system uses that space the same way it uses RAM.
Hard drives are significantly slower than RAM. This is why virtual memory is always used as the last option only. If your system is regularly low on RAM, you need to upgrade your RAM right away. The goal is to use virtual memory very little or not at all.