When you start a Windows PC or laptop, a number of different system processes are started. It creates the user interface that you will use to log in and start working, but it will also be responsible for many hidden actions that you won’t be aware of, such as connecting to other network devices.
Unfortunately, sometimes system processes like ntoskrnl.exe and csrss.exe can cause problems on your PC. Ntoskrnl.exe, in particular, is a major component of the Windows operating system, which makes it difficult to troubleshoot problems. If ntoskrnl.exe is causing high CPU usage and you are looking to fix this problem, here is what you need to do.
What is Ntoskrnl.exe?
It can be said that the ntoskrnl.exe process, also known as Windows NT operating system kernel executable (or System in the Windows Task Manager), is one of the most important processes that Windows has.
A kernel is a code that provides the link between components and programs. When you load an operating system like Windows, the Windows kernel (ntoskrnl.exe) is used to send instructions to specific components like your CPU to perform tasks and actions. Without the ntoskrnl.exe system process, your Windows PC will not run.
You are responsible for providing software with access to attached components and peripherals, managing the processes of loaded applications to ensure they interact properly (and securely) with devices, and controlling the amount of memory used (and available memory) on your computer, among other things.
While other system components can be disabled, you will not be able to disable ntosknrl.exe in your Windows installation. If you ever have to stop it, Windows will display the ntoskrnl.exe blue screen of death error, and you’ll need to restart your computer.
Why does Ntoskrnl.exe cause high CPU usage issues?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to why ntoskrnl.exe is causing high CPU usage in Windows Task Manager. The reasons behind this problem can vary from one computer to another.
This is because ntoskrnl.exe is responsible for a lot of Windows system actions, or has a role in making other system actions happen across different processes. Another Windows service, installed application, corrupted system files, or attached peripherals may cause additional stress to the ntoskrnl.exe process (and thus the CPU).
The best way to try to solve this problem is to check your Windows system files, scan for malware or viruses, and update your computer. You can also start Windows in “clean boot” mode to see if another app or installed service is causing the problem.
Since ntoskrnl.exe is partially responsible for memory management in Windows 10, you may find that another application or service you interact with is using more system resources, which are incorrectly reported as belonging to the ntoskrnl.exe process.
Check and repair Windows system files
Windows works fine when all required system files are in place. If some of these files are corrupt, missing, or inaccessible, Windows 10 may become unstable, with increased possibility of ntoskrnl.exe errors and blue screen of death errors.
One possible way to fix it is to run command line tools chkdsk And sfc Using Windows PowerShell.
To run Windows PowerShell, right-click on the Start menu and select Option Windows PowerShell (administrator).
In the PowerShell terminal window, type:
To verify the integrity of Windows system files. This command should find and repair any missing or corrupt files automatically, but you may need to press
Y to accept any changes.
Once sfc is finished, type:
Schedules a boot scan to check the hard drive’s file system. You will need to confirm by pressing
Y on the keyboard, then restart the computer to start the scan.
These tools will check your installation files and hard drive for missing or corrupt files. If ntoskrnl.exe problems persist, you need to try one of the additional steps listed below.
Install Windows system updates and drivers
Windows updates come with fixes and upgrades that can help solve the most common problems that users report online, including blue screen of death errors and high CPU usage.
Making sure your computer is up to date by installing any available system and driver updates can sometimes resolve these issues. You can do this from the Windows Settings menu.
To access Windows Settings, right-click on the Start menu and select Option Settings. In the Settings menu, select
التحديث والأمان -> Windows Update -> تنزيل (or download and install) if updates are ready to install. Otherwise, select Check for updates Instead of that. This will automatically start downloading and installing any available system and driver updates.
If you’ve recently installed a new computer peripheral or component, you may want to check the manufacturer’s website for driver updates. This is especially true for graphics cards, as manufacturers like NVIDIA release new drivers on a regular basis before adding them to Windows Update.
Check for viruses and malware
Thanks to Microsoft Defender (formerly Windows Defender), it has never been easier to remove stubborn malware from your Windows 10 PC.
To get started, open Windows Settings (right-click on the Start menu and select Settings). From there, select
التحديث والأمان -> فتح Windows Security.
In the Windows Security window, select
الحماية من الفيروسات والتهديدات -> خيارات الفحص , then select an option Microsoft Defender Offline Scan. This will prepare the scanning process when your computer is booted for malware. select button Check now To restart your computer and start the scan process.
Windows will restart and start scanning your drives for malware. If it detects anything, you will be asked if you want to remove or quarantine it.
Troubleshoot installed apps and services with Windows Clean Boot
Windows 10 is not error free but if your PC is up to date, and your system files are intact, another application or installed service might be behind any potential ntoskrnl.exe issues.
To check this, you can run Clean Boot, which will run Windows without third-party apps and services.
To restart Windows in Clean Boot mode, right-click on the Start menu and select the Run option (or press the
Windows + R on the keyboard). In the Run dialog box, type msconfig , then select OK to start it.
in the tab general In the System Configuration window, select Selective startup option , then deselect the Load system services and Load startup items options. This will ensure that only Microsoft-issued services will load on the next restart. Click on OK To confirm, then restart your computer.
Once you have rebooted into the “clean boot” version of Windows, check the CPU usage. If the problem is fixed, it will indicate that a non-Microsoft service that appears on the Services tab of the System Configuration window is behind the problem.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to check each service individually to determine which one might be causing the high CPU usage. You can then permanently disable any problematic apps or services if you find the culprit.
Solve Ntoskrnl.exe Problems
If the above methods do not work, and if you regularly see high CPU usage of ntoskrnl.exe, you may want to consider other fixes. This is especially true if you are seeing the ntoskrnl.exe blue screen of death error pop-up, which may indicate a problem with your computer that can only be resolved by scanning and reinstalling Windows.
If a drastic option like reinstalling Windows still doesn’t solve the problem, a hardware problem cannot be ruled out. Upgrading your PC by replacing core components, like RAM or the CPU, can be enough to get things working again, but you may find that replacing your entire PC is the only option.