If your computer fans frequently hit top speeds, it’s a sign that your CPU is fully loaded. Simultaneously, your computer may slow down. That’s annoying, especially if you’re not actually doing anything.
The CPU (central processing unit), also known as processor, is the brain of your computer. Like your own noggin, it can become overwhelmed if bombarded with too many processes, or if a single task consumes undue attention. Just as you may find work difficult when overwhelmed, your processor can slow to a crawl if too much is asked of it at once.
Normally, you can avoid this situation by staying away from demanding apps. However, CPU usage can sometimes go out of control because of a bug in a process, such as the infamous WmiPrvSE.exe. Fortunately, high CPU usage is usually easy to fix.
This process, which has the full name of Windows Management Instrumentation, is part of Windows and assists organizations in monitoring and troubleshooting a large number of systems on a network. It’s not uncommon for the process to go out of control, however.
You can tell if this is your problem by opening the Task Manager and looking for the WmiPrvSE.exe process. If its CPU usage is higher than a few percent, and you’re not running any program that would impact it, it’s not functioning properly.
Microsoft has an official fix that will stop the problem for most users. If that fix doesn’t work, or you can’t download it, you can try manually restarting the service. Do a Windows Search for Services and, in the window that opens, look for Windows Management Instrumentation. Right click it, then select Restart. You can also stop the service entirely, if you desire.
Finally, there’s a possibly that the service could be a worm or virus. You should see only one version of the process at any given time, and the process should stop if you halt it through the Services window. If you see two versions of it, or the process will not stop, run a virus scan immediately.
System Idle Process
Windows users occasionally run across high utilization by something called System Idle Process. This obscure process seems to hog all the CPU power it possibly can – terrible, right.
Actually, this process is simply a thread that consumes processor cycles, which are not otherwise being used. The process is used because of some very arcane peculiarities in coding, which make it sometimes preferable, and even more efficient, for a processor to run something instead of nothing at all. This is not just a Windows thing, but Windows displays the process in task manager, so users see it and assume something is wrong.
Too Many Background Processes
A background process is a program that’s running on your PC, even though it’s not open in a window. A typical computer will have many background processes running at once, as Windows itself requires some to run. But as you install programs, over the years you may collect more and more, and eventually overwhelm your PC.
You can check on this by opening Task Manager via a Windows Search for the same or by running taskmgr.exe. The Processes tab will appear by default, displaying not only overall CPU usage, but also the usage of each app. You should do this while no other programs are open to prevent confusion. Note the processes which appear to be using at least 10% of your processor’s capability on a regular basis.
In Windows 10, head over to the Startup tab within the Task Manager.
n Windows 7, exit Task Manager and open msconfig.exe via Windows Search or the Run dialog (Windows + R). In the System Configuration window, head to the Startup tab.