What is “System Interrupts” Process and How to Fix High CPU Usage Caused by System Interrupts

What is "System Interrupts" Process and How to Fix High CPU Usage by System Interrupts

Then or now, you might have come across “System Interrupts” in your Task Manager on Windows 10. You likely ignored it unless you have spotted it with 100% CPU Usage. But if you are wondering what System Interrupts is and why it uses high CPU, then we have the answer to your question. This post will also show you how to fix the high CPU usage caused by System Interrupts.

What is “System Interrupts” in Windows?

“System Interrupts” is a part of the Windows operating system. Task Manager lists it as a process, but it isn’t a process like it seems. Instead, it represents the resource usage of hardware interrupts happening at a lower system level. These interrupts are a result of processes happening at software or hardware level.

System Interrupts

If you don’t know about interrupts, let us explain you. Interrupts communicate between the hardware + software with your CPU. For instance, if you are using your mouse, the hardware and motherboard can handle it easily instead of committing a full process towards it. If you switch to the mouse, the priorities of processes switch respectively. If the priorities turn out high for the hardware, the CPU dedicates full process towards the interrupt to deal with it. Once dealt, the CPU resumes its previous tasks gradually.

The Interrupt process happen blazing fast, and they are almost unnoticeable. A lot of interrupts happen at the same time. To check your “System Interrupts” usage, you can open up Task Manager, scroll down in the Processes tab, until you see System Interrupts. If the CPU usage is between 0% to 3%, it is considered normal. Sometimes, the CPU usage can go up to 7% to 10%. This can still be considered under normalcy depending on your PC setup or the program you are running.

But Why Does System Interrupts use so much CPU?

If the CPU usage of “System Interrupts” is consistently holding above the 20% mark, then it’s a sign that your PC is misbehaving. Most probably, the problem might be related to the hardware or its driver might be working abnormally.

You don’t need to panic out at this point. The first and foremost step to recover your PC from high CPU usage is to restart your PC. Yeah, we know that you have heard it a thousand times, but practically it works most of the times. If it still doesn’t fix your problem, we have more ways for you to try them out.

How To Fix System Interrupts High CPU Usage?

If restarting your PC doesn’t fix the problem, then it’s time that you use one of these methods to fix your High CPU usage caused by System Interrupts.

1. Check For Windows Updates

Updating your Windows to the latest version might fix this problem. Windows updates include the latest driver updates as well. If the high CPU usage was due to the driver failure, then it is likely that high CPU usage will get fixed. This won’t update all the drivers, but at least the ones that are managed by the Windows operating system.

To do that, open the Settings app on your Windows PC and head over to the “Updates and Security” section. Click on “Check for updates,” and Download them if there are any updates available. Once done, you might want to restart your PC for the updates to take effect. This option might possibly solve the high CPU usage.

2. Disable or Unplug External Devices

If it is not the drivers, there’s another possibility of an external device misbehaving. Unplugging all of your external devices might be one of the best solutions if you keep seeing high CPU usage. If that doesn’t do any good to the problem, then follow the steps below to disable external devices.

  1. Click Start and type “Device Manager,” and then hit Enter.
  2. Once the Device Manager opens, find the Universal Serial Bus Controllers entry and double click to expand it.
  3. Disable any USB Root hub one by one under the expansion.
    Make sure to do it one by one and try not to disable the mouse and keyboard’s USB Root hubs.

Also, check whether if you have any SATA cables hanging out while plugged into the motherboard, make sure to unplug them from the motherboard.

3. Use DPC Latency Checker To Look For Hardware Issues

If you have gone through the above step, and still you might want to look for driver issues if the above two steps didn’t fix high CPU usage caused by System Interrupts. You can do that by using the DPC Latency Checker tool. Here, DPC stands for Deferred Procedure Call, which is used when an interrupt handler wants to defer a low priority task.

DPC Latency Checker for System Interrupts High CPU usage

DPC Latency Checker checks the latency of kernel-mode device drivers to see if your PC can handle real time audio and video streaming. The tool doesn’t requires any additional installation, and shows issues with drivers in real time.

If you see some high peaks in the DPC Latency Checker, there’s something off. It shows that the latency of a driver is high. You can either reset your Windows PC to get rollback to their standard versions, or else it’s better to go for a complete reset.

Alternatively, you can also use LatencyMon to find out drivers with highest DPC count. Press the Start/Play button to start analyzing different drivers on your PC. Now look for the fidrivers with highest DPC count. Higher DPC count means the respective driver is causing highest number of interruptions. Let the software run for at least 10 minutes to get accurate results.

4. Pull off Plug from Internal Devices

Instead of going for external devices, it’s best to disable all the devices one-by-one, including internal devices. It’s best to disable internal drivers of those devices you feel, that might be the culprit. To do that, follow these steps.

  1. Click Start and type “Device Manager,” and then hit Enter.
  2. Once the Device Manager opens, start disabling the drivers one-by-one.
    Make sure to do it slowly and try not to disable the display adapters, keyboard and mouse, which might cause your PC to act weirdly.

While disabling the devices, keep a check of the System Interrupts under Task Manager. You can also try to run the DPC Latency checker again to confirm your choice. Once you see that the device isn’t the culprit, you can enable the device back by right clicking and clicking on Enable.

Always remember not to disable drivers related to the system which are located under Computer, Processor, and System Devices.

5. Update Your BIOS

Whenever you start your PC, the first thing that boots up is your BIOS. Check your BIOS version on your PC and check the BIOS on your manufacturer’s website. If they don’t match, it’s time that you update your BIOS. To check your BIOS version, follow these steps.

  1. Click Start and type Command Prompt, then hit Enter on your keyboard.
  2. Copy and paste the following command in Command Prompt and hit Enter.
    systeminfo | findstr /I /c:bios2. wmic bios get manufacturer, smbiosbiosversion
  3. Once it runs, Command Prompt will display the BIOS version.

Make sure to take a backup of your files before updating the BIOS on your PC. BIOS might cause system failure and you might need to rush to a service center.

6. Disable Sound Effects

If your PC runs Windows 7, you try to disable the sound effects on your PC. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the system tray.
  2. Click on Playback Devices, and double-click on your Default Device (Speakers).
  3. This will open up a Properties windows. Now, click on Enhancements tab.
  4. Disable all the sound effects. Click on OK to confirm.

System Interrupts High CPU Usage is Now Fixed!

“System Interrupts” isn’t an easy thing to fix. If you performed the above solutions, the problems might get fixed, if everything is done right. If you still face any problems, make sure to comment below, so that we can help you. We hope we could solve your problem with System Interrupts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I disable System Interrupts?

    No, it isn’t possible to disable “System Interrupts,” and there’s no reason to disable it as well. It is a core component of Windows, and if you try to disable it, your PC’s performance will take a hit. Anyways, Windows won’t let you end the task too, if you are curious.

  • Is System Interrupts a virus?

    System Interrupts isn’t a virus, technically. It is an official component of the Windows operating system. Hence, it is not a virus. Since it doesn’t associate itself with any EXE or DLL file type, it is most certainly cannot be accessed by any malware.

    But there is a possibility that a virus might be interfering with your driver, which can cause high CPU usage of System Interrupts. It’s better to scan your PC using your preferred anti-virus software.

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Posted by
Sajid Shaik

Sajid Shaik is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Tech Baked. He is a tech enthusiast who shares his tech knowledge with the world through his writings. You can find his work on publications like AndroidJunglee, TheLeaker, and GeekDashboard. He's also known for his Graphic Design skills, which led him to design the Vector Avatar for MKBHD in 2016.

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