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How to fix high CPU usage caused by system interruptions

High CPU usage can cause your computer to be slow. The process that consumes the most resources is called “system interrupts”. This is where we can help!


If you notice that “system interrupts”, a process that causes high CPU usage, it is most likely a driver or hardware issue.

This article will explain what system interruptions are and how to fix them.

What is “System Interrupts?”

Although system interrupts appear as a Windows task in Task Manager, it is not a process. It’s actually a representative that reports CPU usage for all interrupts that occur at a lower level of the system.

Software or hardware can cause interrupts, as well as the processor. Wikipedia explains:

An interrupt is an alert to the processor about a high-priority situation that requires the interruption of current code being executed. The processor responds by suspending all current activities and saving the state.

The processor returns to the original state after the interrupt handler task has been completed.

Interrupts are a communication method between software and hardware with CPU. When you begin typing, for example, your hardware and software send interrupts back to the CPU. This triggers the processing of your input.

System interrupts can also inform the CPU of an error and can cause a spike or decrease in CPU usage. System interrupts on a healthy system will be between 0.1% to 2% of CPU usage depending on the CPU frequency, running programs, and attached hardware.

You can consider even peaks of 3% or 7% within the normal range depending on how your system is set up.

How to fix system interruptions that cause high CPU usage

If your system is constantly interrupting and hogging more than 5% to 10% CPU, it’s most likely a hardware problem. We can help you solve this problem.

Rebooting your computer is the first thing you should do. If this doesn’t work, you can try these other solutions:

1. Remove or disable all external devices

USB hardware is a common cause. You have two options: unplug external USB devices, or—while in the Device Manager (see below disable USB root hubs), i.e. You can block external hardware interrupting the CPU.

You can disable any USB Root Hub entries by going to the Device Manager.


Please note: If your device is using an external keyboard, or a USB (Bluetooth), mouse, it might not work properly. You should always have another method to re-enable the device.

Tip to desktop computers: Make sure you check if there are any unutilized SATA cables connected to your motherboard. If so, remove them.

2. Check out Hardware Drivers

You can quickly determine if you are dealing with driver issues by running the DPC Latency Checker. Deferred Procedure call (DPC), is a process that deals with system interrupts. The DPC is called upon by interrupt handlers when they need to defer a lower-priority task until later.

DPC Latency Checker is designed to check if your system can handle real-time audio and video streaming. It does this by checking the latency for kernel-mode device driver drivers. This tool is easy to use and doesn’t require installation.


Red bars are a sign that you have high latency. Drop-outs because of high latency are a sign that something is wrong.

Either you can try to identify the problem or rollback recent driver updates (Windows 10) or replace your drivers with the standard version. The drivers that were causing problems in the past included AMD SATA, HD Audio devices and missing Bluetooth driver.

You can also install and run latencyMon to locate the driver files with highest DPC counts. To sort driver files by DPC count, press the Play / Start button. The count will accumulate over time so allow it to run for a while.


High DPC counts can lead to high numbers of interruptions for drivers.

3. Disable internal devices

Instead of updating drivers randomly, disable individual drivers on your devices to identify the problem. If you have identified potential offenders, disable them first.

Open the Start menu. Search for and open Device Manager. Expand the list of peripherals below. Click on a device to disable .

Perform this task for one device. After checking the CPU usage and system interruptions, or re-running DPC Latency Checker (right-click on the device) select Enable.

These devices are most likely to be the culprits.

  • Network adapters
  • Modems for internal use
  • Devices for internal sound
  • Any add-on cards such as a TV tuner, ISDN, DSL adapters or modems

If none of these are the cause, you can disable (and re-enable) any other non-essential drivers.

Do not disable drivers that are required to run your system. This includes anything listed under Computer and Processors.

Don’t attempt to disable your display adapters, the drive that runs your system or IDE controllers. Also, you shouldn’t disable your keyboard or mouse (unless there is an alternative input device such as a touchpad or your monitor).


4. Exclude Failing Hardware

Hardware that fails can be caused by corrupt drivers. If the problem persists, you can update your drivers but that won’t fix it. If the problem is resolved by disabling all devices, we recommend following our guide to test your computer for hardware failure.

Note that System interruptions can also be caused by a defective power supply or laptop charger. It is important to unplug and replace it as well.

5. Disable Sound Effects

This may be the answer you are looking for if you’re using Windows 7.

Right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select Playback devices. Double-click your default device (speaker), to open Properties. Head to the Enhancements tab and disable all sound effects. Check how system interrupts are working now by clicking OK.

6. Updating your BIOS

Your BIOS is the initial piece of software that your computer runs when it turns on. This helps your operating system boot. First, identify the BIOS version you have and then check the manufacturer’s site for any updates or instructions.

To determine your BIOS version press Windows Key + R. Type cmd and hit Enter. Then, execute the following commands one after another:


  1. systeminfo | findstr /I /c:bios
  2. wmic bios get manufacturer, smbiosbiosversion

Not a lower case L, the I is in /I.

img alt=”Check your BIOS Version in a Command Prompt.” data-img-url=”https://static1.makeuseofimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/BIOS-Version-670×226.jpg”/>

Important: Updating your BIOS should not be done lightly. Back up your system before you do anything else.

System Interrupts can be tricky

There are many reasons system interruptions can occur. Have you re-started your computer according to the instructions? We are glad you were able fix the problem. If you still have trouble, take a look at the (now hidden comments; there are many reports from readers who found strange causes for their high CPU use.




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