So, you’ve been using your Windows 10 PC for a while, but lately, you’ve noticed that it’s quite sluggish and applications freeze when you launch them. Upon further investigation, you discover that the disk utilization capacity is at 100%! Strange, right?
Well, it does happen, and we’re pretty sure you are at a loss of what to do. When your disk utilization is at 100%, the total sum of the hard disk’s read/write speed has exceeded the 100 -150Mbps threshold.
Diagnosing the Problem
Generally, the read/write speed swings between 100 and 150 Mbps. When it exceeds this range, the result is 100% disk utilization, which slows down your system. You can diagnose the problem by launching the Task Manager.
How to Launch Task Manager?
Task Manager is a Windows monitoring tool that gives you a glance at your system’s performance and running applications. The task manager allows you to:
To access the task manager Press Windows Key + X.
Scroll and click on the ‘Task Manager’ option as shown below
Alternatively, you can right-click on the taskbar and click on the ‘Task Manager’ option as shown below
After clicking on the ‘Task Manager’ option, the Task manager window will open.
As you can see above, the Disk utilization capacity is at 100% and has a red outline. There are several fixes for this phenomenon, depending on what is causing it. In this article, we’ll dive further into how you can remedy this problem.
How to Fix High Disk Usage?
1. Disable Superfetch
What is Superfetch? Superfetch is a service that runs in the background in Windows systems – ever since Windows Vista – and quietly analyzes the RAM and applications that your system uses most.
It then preloads frequently used applications into the RAM so that they are loaded much faster with subsequent launches. The drawback to Superfetch is that it constantly hogs the CPU and RAM, slowing down applications considerably.
Is Superfetch useful? For the most part, yes, but in some cases, you might not need it. For instance, the impact it makes in preloading apps might hardly be noticeable when using an SSD drive. This is because SSD drives are much faster than traditional mechanical drives and so do not need to preload applications.
Is it okay to disable the Superfetch service? Absolutely! If your system is ‘hanging,’ it’s safe to proceed. But if all’s well, there’s no need to disable it.
Disable Superfetch using Services
1. Press the Windows Key + R
2. In the dialogue box that appears, type services.msc in the text field.
3. Press Enter.
4. The ‘Services’ Window will open, displaying all the running services on your PC. Scroll down and locate the ‘Superfetch’ option.
5. Right-click on ‘Superfetch’ and select the ‘Stop’ option as shown below.
This should free up some disk utilization and allow your applications to run seamlessly. To stop it from running on startup, right-click the program and select ‘Properties.’
Click on ‘Startup-type’ pulldown menu. Select ‘Disabled’ option as shown. Click on ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’ to effect the changes.
2. Disable Windows Search
Is your Windows system still running slowly? Don’t fret. You can go ahead and disable the Windows Search service on your system. Windows Search is notorious for increasing the load on the system’s disk.
To temporarily remedy this until the next reboot, take the following steps
Go to the search bar and type ‘Command Prompt’. Right click and select ‘Run as administrator’.
Once open run net.exe stop “windows search”
To disable the service permanently, hit Windows Key + R
In the dialogue box that appears type services.msc
Scroll down and locate Windows search
Right click and select Properties
In the ‘start type’ pull down menu, click and select ‘disabled’
Click on ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’.
3. Reset Virutal Memory
Virtual memory is memory that sits on your hard drive and acts as an extension of RAM. The computer normally uses it when the system is running low on RAM. Windows switches to virtual memory where it temporarily stores files and then swaps them back to the main memory as required. If the virtual memory is unnecessarily high, it might cause degradation in your system’s performance.
To reset virtual memory follow below steps-
Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System
In the Window that appears, Go to ‘Advanced System Settings’
Next, click on the ‘Advanced Tab’ and click on the ‘Settings.’
In the next window, uncheck ‘Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.’
Below, highlight the System Volume (in my case C:)and click on the ‘Custom size’ radio button.
Enter your RAM’s size in MB in the ‘initial size’ text field.
‘Maximum size’ should be 1.5 times the RAM’s size. For instance, for a 4GB RAM size, the maximum size should not exceed 6144 MB (4096 x 1.5).
Next, click on ‘Set,’ and then ‘OK.’
4. Change Google Settings
Google Chrome is notorious for hogging RAM and slowing down a system. To circumvent this problem, follow the steps below.
Go to ‘Settings.’
Scroll down to ‘Advanced.’
Under Privacy and Security, ensure that ‘Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly’ is disabled.
5. Purge any Flash Player Updates
Flash Player has a reputation for degrading system performance, leading to a spike in disk usage. Uninstalling flash and flash updates can significantly alleviate the workload on the disks.
Navigate to Settings > Update & Security.
Locate ‘Windows Update.’
Go to ‘View your update history.‘
Search for Flash Player updates under ‘Uninstall Updates.’
6. Resolve the StorAHCI.sys Driver
Advanced Host Controller Interface PCI-Express (AHCI PCIe) is a driver that causes a surge in the disk usage of Windows 10 systems. To work around this problem, you should disable MSI mode. Here’s how to accomplish this.
Press the Windows key + R.
The Device manager Window will open.
Locate ‘IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers.’
Right-click on Standard SATA AHCI controller.
Click on the ‘Driver’ tab.
Click on ‘Driver details.’
You should be able to locate the storahci.sys driver as shown
Still in the same dialogue box, go to ‘Details.’
Under ‘Property Value,’ select ‘Device instance Path.’
Take note of the value after PCI\VEN. We are going to locate it later in the Windows registry.
Close this window.
Go to the Windows registry by pressing Windows key + R.
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI\<AHCI Controller>\Device Parameters\Interrupt Management\MessageSignaledInterruptProperties
Click on MSISupported
Under Value Data Type 0 and click OK
7. Run CHKDSK
Finally, run a chkdsk command to scan and fix issues with your hard drive.
Run command Prompt as Admin.
Type chkdsk /f C:
Hit Enter. The system will notify you that the drive is currently in use and will execute command when you restart the system.
Ideally, your system should run well below 100% in Disk usage. When all the above fails, this could be an indicator of hardware failure or aging. In that case, we advise you to back up your data in another location and purchase and install a new hard drive on your PC. Then, install Windows 10 and copy your data back onto the computer.Thank you for your time. Stay tuned for more insightful posts.