How to fix 100% Disk Usage at Windows Boot/Startup?

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 15 Nov 2022    📁 TECH

Have you ever opened up your computer/laptop only to see it extremely slow and not functioning as you would like to? One of the reasons for this is 100% disk utilization during startup. This problem can be seen if you open up task manager and go to the performance tab.

Disk Usage problem
fig. 100% Disk Usage problem

There are a few reasons that this might be happening. Here, we have listed some causes and fixes so that this problem doesn’t need to be dealt with again.

What causes 100% Disk Utilization at Startup?

There are a few reasons you might see this problem on your PC. The primary culprit tends to be the hardware itself. Using an HDD instead of an SSD can be the main cause. Here, we have listed other reasons in short.

  • Too Many Start-Up Programs
  • Virus and Malware
  • Outdated Drivers
  • Background Applications
  • Message Signal Interrupt (MSI) mode
  • Improper RAM, CPU, and disk coordination.

How to Fix 100% Disk Utilization at Startup?

The maximum disk use occurs when Windows accesses multiple files, drivers, and boot priority settings, among other things. This is common for all operating systems during startup. However, if it takes a long time, you must consider it and take action. Let's look at how to fix 100% Disk Utilization at Startup:

1 Get an SSD 

This is the easiest solution. Just not for the wallet. An HDD is inferior to SSD by design. HDDs are mechanical drives. They work with spinning parts so it takes more time to look for data. Especially during the time of boot, it’s easy to overload them. On the other hand, SSDs don’t have this problem. SSDs are made using chips and have low access times. Thus, having an SSD with windows instead of a hard disk can reduce your issue by a significant margin.

fig. SSD : NVME and SATA
Also read : SATA SSD vs NVMe SSD: Speed , Storage. Which is Better

2 Disable Start-Up Applications

Having many applications starting up with the system can overload the best of drives. Disabling useless Startup applications can reduce the load being placed on the disk. This takes the disk utilization to 100% and lags the computer insufferably. Even if it’s for a short time. This tends to hinder productivity. Here is the step-by-step on how to disable them:

  • Open Task Manager with Ctrl+Shift+Esc
  • Go to the Startup section
  • Take a look at the impact of applications
  • Select the application with High Startup Impact
  • Click Disable
    Disable Startup application
    fig. Disable High Disk Usage application

3 Check for Viruses 

A lot of malware or virus can cause 100% disk utilization upon startup. Most viruses are designed with malice or annoyance in mind. Therefore, they tend to have bad sectors that load up the drive. However, checking for viruses with windows defender is super simple in the modern day. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do so:

  • Press the Windows key and search for windows security
    Windows Security
    fig. Windows Security
  • Go to Virus and Threat Protection
  • Check out Scan Options and select “Full Scan” from the drop-down menu.
  • And then click the scan now button
    Full Scan Virus in Windows OS
    fig. Full Scan Virus in Windows OS

4 Disable Superfetch

Superfetch is a service that pre-loads the applications that you open a lot. However, it also tends to use a huge amount of disk resources. Here’s how to disable it

  • Press the Windows key + R
  • Type services.msc
  • When the services dialog box opens up, navigate to sysmain
  • Click on Stop
  • Under the “Startup Type” drop-down menu, select disabled and then restart the PC
    Stop sysmain services
    fig. Stop sysmain services

5 Disable MSI Mode 

MSI mode slows computers down by a large margin taking up a lot of system resources. This might also be the reason for 100% disk utilization in your PC during or after startup.

  • Open Run dialog with Windows + R
  • Type devmgmt.msc
  • Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
  • Right-click on “Standard SATA AHCI controller” and select “Properties
  • In Properties, go to “Driver” and click Driver Details
  • If {stroahci.sys} is listed in “Driver Files”, it is possible to disable MSI mode
  • Back in the “property” tab, go to Details.
  • Under Property select Device Instance Path and copy the value.
  • Open the run dialog again
  • Type regedit
  • In the registry editor window navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Enum\ PCI\ {copied value from above}\ Device Parameters\ Interrupt Management\ MessageSignalInterruptProperties
  • In the MessageSignalInterruptProperties key, look for MSISupported with the type “REG_DWORD”
  • Change “value data” - and click “Ok”.
Note: Use regedit with caution. You can backup your registry first so that you can recover if something goes wrong.

6 Close Background 

Some apps like Discord and Spotify move to the background when you hit the close button. Many apps can be taking up system resources without being of any use. Here’s a step-by-step on how to close them.

  • Open Task Manager
  • Click On the “disk” column and note down the high disk-consuming apps
  • Open settings
  • Select “Apps” from the left menu
  • Click on “Installed Apps
  • Looks for the apps that we noted in the previous step
  • Click on the 3 dots located to the right.
  • Go to “Advanced Options
  • Select “Never” from the drop-down menu under “Background Apps Permissions
Also read: Does Windows 11 use more RAM than Windows 10?

7 Latest Windows Updates

Not having the latest version of windows can also be the cause of a slow PC with 100% disk utilization. You should make sure that you have the latest update of windows installed. You can check out which is the latest update here.

8 Driver Updates

If all the above steps don’t resolve 100% disk usage, it might be time for a driver update. You can check out your laptop’s driver at the official site of the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). For my driver updates and checks, I go to Lenovo and type in my model number. The website automatically detects the hardware by downloading an app. After that, it suggests automatic driver updates. 

9 Upgrade the RAM

Once the PC runs out of RAM, it uses a virtual page file on the disk. To solve this problem, you are suggested to install more RAM on your PC. While looking at computers, most people nowadays look for at least 8 Gigabytes of RAM. However, as of recent times, people are leaning more towards a 16 Gigabyte machine.

10 Chose “High Performance” Mode In Power Options

For best performance, make sure that the power plan is set to “high performance” and not “power saving” in settings. The high-performance mode can be accessed anywhere from the control panel to the battery icon on the taskbar of the PC.

Also read : What is addinprocess and how to delete it ?

11 Delete Temporary Files From the PC

Windows tends to make a ton of temporary files for smooth functionality of the device and the operating environment. Some of these files are deleted by default and some aren’t. To delete them, you have to follow the following steps:

  • Press the windows and r keys together or look for “run” in the search menu
  • Type ‘prefetch’ in the dialog box that appears
  • This will ask you for admin permission to which you should select ‘Continue
  • Delete all the files present there.
    Prefetch- Delete all content
    fig. Prefetch- Delete all content

12 Repair Corrupted Windows File 

When Windows fails to boot or takes a long time to boot due to a corrupted Windows file, use the following command to check and restore Windows Health.

First open Command Prompt, and then press Win + R key and then type cmd. This will open a command prompt. Next type the following command line by line.

SFC /scannow
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

13 Update your Windows OS

After the scan in the preceding steps is completed, please check your computer for available updates. If available please update it.


In this manner, you can resolve 100% of Disk Usage issues that arise during Windows OS startup.

Article by Adamya Neupane