How To Fix ‘Ntoskrnl.exe’ High CPU and Disk Usage

Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Usage on Windows 10: By the term Disk Usage, we mean the portion of computer storage that is currently used.

CPU usage tells us how much of the CPU is used by a program or a process — continuous high CPU usage results in a problem in the functioning of the programs.

Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Usage on Windows 10

Ntoskrnl.exe process also consumes so much of disk space. Many users encounter this problem. Many users say that they encounter the Blue Screen of Death (BSODs) issue.

Are you encountering issues with Ntoskrnl.exe on your Windows 10 system and unsure about what it is or how to fix it? You’ve come to the right place. This detailed guide aims to educate you about what Ntoskrnl.exe is, why it’s essential, how to fix the “Ntoskrnl.exe is missing” error, and how to reset it on your Windows 10 computer.

What is Ntoskrnl.exe?

Ntoskrnl.exe stands for Windows NT Operating System Kernel executable. It’s an essential component of Windows operating systems, responsible for various system services such as hardware virtualization, process, and memory management.

When your computer boots up, this executable file manages the initialization procedure, ensuring that all components are set up correctly for the operating system to run.

What is Ntoskrnl.exe and What Does It Do?

Ntoskrnl.exe stands for Windows NT operating system kernel. It is a system application file. Mostly, this process runs in the background of your system. It is responsible for system-related processes like process and memory management and hardware visualisation.

Ntoskrnl.exe also compresses the old pages of memory. It results in a reduction in the overall amount of memory to be used. It also contains the scheduler, security reference monitor, memory manager and the cache manager. Ntoskrnl.exe is a protected system file. Due to this feature, it cannot be easily corrupt or deleted.

Reasons for Taking Ntoskrnl.exe a lot of Disk Space, Memory and CPU

If your system is continuously running slow, you can suspect Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10 issue. Memory leaks caused by hardware and malware are the main reason behind this consumption. There are some other reasons as well. Let us discuss some of the reasons here.

Reason 1: Malware and Viruses

Malware harm your computer badly. They can sometimes embed themselves into the ntoskrnl.exe file. Also, malware can hijack the functions of this file and cause a memory leak. A virus also can write itself into the space of ntoskrnl.exe.

Both these fill your memory space. In turn, more CPU resources are used. So, when ntoskrnl.exe detects so much of memory usage, it is unable to handle it. Such problems like blue screens are generated.

Reason 2: Bad or outdated Device Drivers

While communicating with different devices, ntoskrnl.exe sends and receives data with the help of device drivers. That data is then written into RAM, and there is a wait for execution.

Corrupt drivers keep on sending data continuously to the ntoskrnl.exe memory handler. It results in a memory leak. These drivers also rewrite data in the memory space of ntoskrnl.exe. So is fills all the space of RAM. So more CPU usage is required for processing this data.

Usually, the users, who shift from Windows 7 to Windows 10, face Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10 issue commonly. Incompatible drivers may cause memory leak problems.

Reason 3: New Compressed Memory on Windows 10

In Windows 10, a new feature called the compression store is introduced. It contains all compressed pages. When there is a load like situation, the memory manager compresses the pages.

It doesn’t write them to the disk. It results in a reduction in the amount of memory used per process. So Windows can store more applications in the memory space. Sometimes, this compressed store uses more resources. You can view the usage in the task manager.

Reason 4: Corrupt Ntoskrnl.exe System File

Usually, the ntoskrnl.exe file is well protected. There are very rare chances that it gets corrupted. But if it is corrupted, then ntoskrnl.exe doesn’t work properly.

It gets confusing when to write into RAM and when to free its space. So it results in extra load on the CPU. It may also be the reason that your Hard Disk is filling up so fast.

Fix: High CPU or Disk Usage by Ntoskrnl.exe on Windows 10

After diagnosing the issue, the next step is to solve it. Here we will discuss some of the solutions to fix Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Usage error. Apply them, in case you encounter this issue. The fixes are listed below:

Solution 1: Update Your Drivers

The incompatibility between the operating system and drivers also causes Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10 issue. So try to update your drivers. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Press Windows + R keys from the keyboard. Type hdwwiz.cpl and click on the OK button.

Step 2: Navigate to the Drivers tab. Click on the Update Drivers option.

Step 3: Choose the automatic option. It will find and update the drivers from the internet.

Step 4: Restart your computer.

Solution 2: To Run Antimalware and Antispyware Software to Scan the System

Malware can create various problems on your system. High CPU or disk usage is also one of them. To resolve Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10 issue, you can perform a full scan. If there will be any malware present in your system, it will list them.

You can also use Windows Defender for this purpose. This software protects your system from viruses, spyware, and other security threats.

Solution 3: Disable Runtime Broker

Runtime Broker is a Microsoft Windows process. It has poor memory optimisation features. Due to this, it consumes a lot of CPU usage. One solution is to disable the Runtime Broker. Follow the given steps to do so:

Step 1: First of all, Go to the Start menu. Open the Settings.

Step 2: Now, open System>Notification and Actions.

Step 3: Disable the option saying “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows” and “Get notifications from apps and other senders”.

Step 4: Restart your computer and see if the issue resolves or not.

Solution 4: Changing Registry Settings

A registry is the collection of databases of configuration settings of Windows OS. It stores the settings for software, hardware, operating system configurations etc.

You can change these settings with the help of the Windows Registry Editor. Apply the following procedure:

Step 1: Firstly, right-click on the Start button. Choose the Run option.

Step 2: In the Run dialogue box, type regedit and click OK button.

Step 3: Now go to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SYSTEM>CurrentControlSet>Control>Session Manager>Memory Management

Step 4: Click the Memory Management folder.

Step 5: Find “ClearPageFileAtShutdown”. Then, double-click on it.

Step 6: Change the Value data value to 1. Click on the OK button.

Now check if the ntoskrnl.exe process’s CPU usage is controlled or not.

Importance of Ntoskrnl.exe

The file is critical for the system’s stability and performance. If Ntoskrnl.exe becomes corrupted or goes missing, you’re likely to encounter the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or be unable to boot your system altogether.

How to Fix ‘Ntoskrnl.exe is Missing’ Error

Method 1: Repair Windows Installation

  1. Insert your Windows 10 installation DVD or bootable USB stick.
  2. Restart your computer and boot from the DVD/USB.
  3. Select your language and other preferences, then click ‘Next.’
  4. Choose ‘Repair your computer.’
  5. Select ‘Troubleshoot,’ then ‘Startup Repair.’ Windows will automatically fix any issues.

Method 2: Use the ‘sfc /scannow’ Command

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Wait for the system scan to complete and follow the on-screen instructions to repair the missing or corrupted files, including Ntoskrnl.exe.

Method 3: Check Hardware

Sometimes, faulty hardware, particularly RAM, can lead to the missing Ntoskrnl.exe error. Consider running hardware diagnostic tests to rule this out.

How to Reset Ntoskrnl.exe on Windows 10

If you’ve attempted all the fixes but are still encountering issues with Ntoskrnl.exe, resetting it might be the next logical step. You’ll need your Windows 10 installation media for this.

  1. Boot your computer from the Windows 10 installation DVD/USB as in Method 1.
  2. Choose ‘Repair your computer.’
  3. Select ‘Troubleshoot,’ then ‘Command Prompt.’
  4. Type C: to switch to your Windows installation drive.
  5. Use the copy command to replace the existing Ntoskrnl.exe file with a fresh one from the installation media.
  6. Reboot your computer.

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There is not a particular reason that causes Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Usage error. Thankfully, there are many solutions available to resolve this issue. Here, we have discussed four such methods. We hope that these fixes will help you to solve the Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU, Disk Usage issue.

The Ntoskrnl.exe file is crucial for your Windows 10 system’s operation, and its absence can lead to severe issues. While the “Ntoskrnl.exe is missing” problem can be daunting, the methods described above can help restore your system’s stability.

Always remember to create regular backups to safeguard against file corruption and other system-related issues.