Why is my Windows System Idle Process so high?
When opening the Windows Task Manager, you may notice that the "System Idle Process" is high and be concerned that something is using your system resources. When the processor within a computer is idle, it has a high System Idle Process in the CPU column, often in the 70's to 90's. If you are not currently running any programs, a high idle might indicate many background Windows processes, such as Windows services.
In the example picture, the System Idle Process is at 98 (98%) of the processor's computing power, or in other words, 2% of its computing power is being used.
If your computer has a multiple core processor (e.g., a six-core or eight-core), you may see a high System Idle Process percent when few or no software programs are running on your computer. Also, even if programs are open, the System Idle Process can still be high if the processor is waiting for something to do.
Troubleshooting issues related to high System Idle Process
Sometimes a high System Idle Process can be related to a software problem. If you see a high idle percent and do not think it should be idling that high, check to see if any open programs are locked up or not responding in general. Sometimes a program can get stuck in a memory loop or stop responding, causing the processor to become idle due to not having any commands to process from an open program. To resolve this, trying closing the program normally or pressing Alt + F4 to force close the program. Restart the program after it closes and see if it starts responding again.
If a non-responsive program does not close, restart your computer to reset the non-responsive program and the operating system. Then, try opening the program again to see if it works normally.
- Windows System CPU usage continues to peak or stays at 100%.
- See our idle definition for further information and related links.
- Microsoft Windows help and support.