When using your PC or an app, if you notice a performance issue, one of the things to check is disk usage. If you notice random disk usage spikes, this post will help you resolve the problem in Windows PC.
High usages spikes are defiantly one of the major issues as it slows down the performance of your computer. But there are a couple of hacks that you can try to deal with the issue and fix it right away.
What Is the Reason Behind Random Disk Usage Spikes?
Several different reasons can trigger this problem in Windows. Some of such reasons are mentioned below:
- Drive fragmentation: If you use a traditional HDD drive and turn on the auto-drive optimizing function, this can cause a high disk usage spikes error.
- CompatTellRunner.exe: This program is known for eating up storage space.
- Failing HDD drive: There is also a good chance that your HDD drive is failing, and you need to replace your drive with a new one. But make sure to run an HDD health check at first.
- Windows search glitch: In Windows 11 insider builds, the disk usage increases whenever you try to use the Windows Search component.
Fix: Random Disk Usage Spikes On Windows 11/10
I have shared some of the most effective methods to fix disk usage problems in Windows. Go ahead and give these methods a try and see if they are any help to you:
- Check App Usage
- Upgrade To The Latest Windows Build
- Defrag Hard Drive
- Disable SysMain (Superfetch) Service
- Run Disk Check Utility
- Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State to check interference of 3rd party process
- Check HDD Health
- Disable MSI Mode
Now let me talk about all these methods individually.
Note: If you see a constant high disk usage, check the linked guide.
1. Check App Usage
Open Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Then click on the Disk column to sort it based on descending order. It will help you identify the app which is causing high-disk usage. If you don’t notice it immediately, wait until you see the spike.
Once you have identified the app, you can reinstall the app and check if the issue persists. You will need to remove the app and look for an alternative if it does.
You may also want to check if the app is stuck doing an operation. For example, if it’s the Excel program, and you notice the disk usage spike when editing a file or during sync, you need to recreate the file. If it’s the indexing service causing the problem, you need to solve it accordingly.
2. Upgrade To The Latest Windows Build
The first thing you should do is upgrade to the latest Windows build. There is a good chance that Microsoft has already addressed the issue and released an update.
So go to Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates. And see if there is any update available. If there is, then do download and install it and see if it fixes the issue for you.
3. Defrag Hard Drive
If your system uses an HDD and you have disabled defragment and driver optimization function. Then this could be a primary reason behind high disk usage. Hence, it is recommended that you should enable the feature. Once done, it will also improve the Windows performance.
For this, follow the below steps:
- Press Windows Key + R to launch Run.
- Type down dfrgui.exe and press enter.
- Next, select your HDD operating system drive and click on the Optimize button.
- You will also get prompted by the User Account control menu. Click on Yes to continue.
Once the setup is running, please wait for it to get finished. Also, make sure you are not stopping the process mid-way as it can cause additional issues.
3. Disable SysMain (Superfetch) Service
SysMain, earlier known as SuperFetch, is a program used by Windows to preload apps into memory before launching it. This feature helps in loading apps as soon as possible. However, sometimes it can cause high disk usage errors. So you can try disabling the feature by following the below steps:
- Launch R by pressing Windows Key + R.
- Type down services.msc and press Enter.
- Now look for the SysMain or Superfetch service and double-click on it.
- Next, change the startup type to Disabled and click on Stop to suspend the services.
- Finally, click on Apply > Ok.
It will reduce the Disk Usage by 10 to 15%. Also, you can restart your PC to minimize disk usage further.
4. Run Disk Check Utility
You can also try performing a disk check to help fix temporary bugs. For this, go through the below steps:
- Right-click on the start menu and select Windows Terminal (Admin) to launch it.
- Next, type chkdsk.exe /f /r
- This command doesn’t initiate a system check right away. Instead, press Y next to schedule a check next time your PC restarts.
So go ahead and reboot your machine to start the disk check process.
5. Disable the CompatTelRunner.exe process
CompatTelRunner.exe is a common program known for hogging memory space. Hence, it is recommended that you disable this service. There are two ways to disable it: task scheduler and registry editor.
Let me talk about both the options below:
Disable the CompatTelRunner.exe process via Task Scheduler
- Press Windows Key + R to launch Run.
- Type down taskschd.msc and press the Enter key to open up Task Scheduler.
- Next, navigate the following path using the left menu
Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Application Experience.
- Over here, disable all the tasks by right-clicking on them.
- After disabling, restart your PC, and the issue should get fixed.
Disable the CompatTelRunner.exe process via Registry Editor
- Press Windows Key + R to launch the Run box.
- Type down regedit and press enter.
- From Registry Editor, navigate to the following path:
- Then right-click on the TelemetryController and choose Rename from the context menu.
- Next, rename the TememetryController key to TelemetryControllerX.
- Finally, reboot your computer, and you are good to go.
6. Check HDD/SSD Health
If your hard disk is quite old, it can be one of the main reasons behind random high disk usage. If your HDD health isn’t good, it can lead to disk failure or face different disk-related issues.
Checking your HDD health is extremely easy. Many apps help you with the job, but it’s best to use the tool offered by the OEM.
If your SSD is old, use the OEM tool to fix the performance issue.
7. Disable MSI Mode
According to some users, 100% of disk utilization errors are fixed by disabling MSI mode. According to Microsoft, the high disk usage error occurs because of Advanced Host Controller Interface PCI-Express (AHCI PCIe) controllers with firmware incompatibility.
So in case, your PC is using the StorAHCI.sys driver, you are most likely affected by this issue. However, as per Microsoft, by disabling MSI mode, you can reduce disk usage by a significant amount.
- Right-click on the start menu and select Device Manager.
- Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and right-click on the entry.
- Next, select properties.
- Switch to the Driver tab and click on Driver details.
- Over here, if you get to see StorAHCI.sys under the path, then only process to the further step. If you don’t see anything like that, skip this method.
- Next, go to the Details tab and change the Device instance path from the dropdown menu.
- Now right-click on the Value here and copy it.
- Paste the Value into a Notepad file.
- Close Device Manager and open registry editor by going to the Windows search option.
- Go to the following registry path:
- Now match the entry with the one you have pasted in the Notepad file and expand it.
- Now from the sidebar, go to Device Parameters > Interrupt Management > MessageSignaledInterruptProperties.
- On the right pane, look for MSISupported and open it and change the value data to 0.
Finally, close the Registry Editor and restart your PC. You will notice that your disk utilization does not go above the 10 to 20% mark.
Should I Disable Superfetch?
If your PC is dealing with increasing CPU usage, consuming more RAM, or having random high disk usages, you should disable SuperFetch. SuperFetch preloads apps into the memory to load them faster. However, it can be a severe resource eating problem. You would experience a noticeable drop in your computer’s performance and speed. Also, if you are using an old HDD, the feature must be disabled for good.
Will Chkdsk Repair Corrupt Files?
The primary purpose of the chkdsk command is to scan the filesystem on a disk (NFTS, FAT32) and check the integrity of the filesystem, including filesystem metadata and fix any logical filesystem error chkdsk finds.
What Does an Sfc Scan Do?
The SFC /scannow command will scan all protect system files on your computer and replace corrupted files with a cached copy located in a compressed folder in the Windows folder.
So those were all the fixes for random disk usage spikes on Windows 11/10. Now go ahead and give these methods a try and if they are any help. Also, for any other questions, do feel free to drop a comment below.