What is System Interrupts?
System Interrupts is a legitimate and important Windows system process that constantly runs in the background of the system. System Interrupts (also known simply as the Interrupts process) should normally not cause any problems and use no more than 5% of the CPU’s power. However, it is possible that this percentage goes up by quite a bit to the point where System Interrupts starts consuming too much processor power, negatively affecting the computer’s performance. There could be many different reasons for an issue like this but, luckily, fixing the underlying cause of the System Interrupts high CPU usage should, for the most part, be relatively easy. Below, we will tell you about the most common causes of this problem and we will also give you instructions on how to troubleshoot each of them, starting from the simpler fixes and moving on to the more complex and time-consuming ones.
For those interested, the System Interrupts process is responsible for shifting and redistributing CPU resources to those hardware components that have the highest priority at a given moment. It is an essential process for the smooth and proper functioning of your computer and all of its components and should not be stopped under any circumstances. If you have noticed that this process is consuming too much processing power on your computer, do not attempt to kill it as this might lead to system instability as well as other issues. Instead, try the instructions provided here and, in case you still cannot deal with the problem, consult a specialist from your area who can take a look at your machine to figure out exactly where the problem lies. Now, onto the fixing methods that you can try.
How to fix the System Interrupts high CPU usage problem
Obvious, yet oftentimes forgotten way of fixing many minor issues. Power down your PC, wait a couple of minutes, and then turn it back on to see if the problem has resolved itself. If not, move on to the more advanced solutions.
Normally, Windows should automatically download and install its system updates without you having to do anything. Still, it is possible that your OS may be missing an update, which could be a possible cause for the System Interrupts problem. Here is what you can do to solve this:
- Open the start menu and type in the search field check for updates.
- Click on the first item that shows up – this should land you on the Windows Update page.
- Click on the Check for updates button and wait for Windows to see if it is missing any updates.
- If anything gets found, install the update manually and then conduct another check just to be sure your OS is fully up to date.
- Finally, restart the computer and, if Windows starts actualizing itself, be patient and wait. Once the computer shuts down and starts again, see if the problem is still there.
Disconnect external devices
Since this the System Interrupts process is responsible for CPU power distribution towards different hardware components, disconnecting the external devices that may be plugged in your computer might help relieve the process a bit and make it use less CPU. The suggested way of doing this is to disconnect the devices one by one while monitoring the behavior of the System Interrupts process. If, after disconnecting any one particular device, the CPU usage of the process normalizes, then it is likely that this device has, in some way, been the cause of the problem. There could be a great many reasons why any given peripheral could be causing issues with the System Interrupts process but if the device itself is something that you can go on without or that you can easily replace, we suggest you do not reconnect this particular one as it will likely keep causing the same issue.
Check your hard-disk for problems
Windows offers a hard-disk maintenance function known as chkdsk that can be used to scan your hard-drives and look for any bad sectors and errors that may need fixing and fix them whenever possible. Here is how to use this function:
- Type cmd in your Start Menu search box and right-click on the top result.
- Select the Run as administrator option to start the Command Prompt with Admin privileges.
- Once the Command Opens, type the command chkdsk C: /f and hit Enter. If you want to scan another drive for problems, replace the “C” from the command with the letter of the disk you want to have checked. This command will look for and repair any logical issues/errors detected on the disk that is being scanned. If you want chckdsk to try fixing physical issues on the disk, you can also try the chkdsk C: /r command. If you want to launch both commands at once, use the following command chkdsk C: /f /r.
- It is possible that, once you launch any of these three commands, a message tells you that the chkdsk function cannot run because the disk you’ve selected is currently in use. If this happens, press Y from your keyboard and this will schedule a scan for the next time you restart your computer.
- Once the scan starts, know that it might take some time, especially if you have big hard-drives. Be patient and do not interrupt the process. Once it completes, you will be told if there have been any bad sectors detected and whether chkdsk has managed to resolve all of them, some of them, or none of them.
Update your Drivers
Just like the Windows updates, the updates for your drivers should usually get installed automatically and you shouldn’t be required to manually update them. Still, it’s possible that a given device or component that’s part of your computer is missing an important driver update, resulting in the problem with the Interrupts process. Updating drivers is quite easy and here is how you can do it right now:
- Again, in the Start Menu search field, type Device Manager and select the item that shows as the first result.
- If you know or at least suspect which device may be causing an issue, look at the list of devices in the Device Manager and try to find its category.
- Expand the category icon and right-click on the potentially problematic device.
- Click on the Update driver option – this will open a dialog box with two options: to let Windows automatically search for a driver online or to browse your computer for driver update software that you’ve previously downloaded.
- Unless you have already downloaded the corresponding driver software for the update, we recommend that you go for the automatic option and let Windows handle the update for you. If, for some reason, Windows cannot automatically update your drivers, then you will have to go to the site of the manufacturer of the device, the driver of which you want to update, and download the update from there. Then, go back to the Device Manager and this time select the Browse my computer for driver software option. You will be asked to find the update software on your computer so do that and update the driver from it.
- If you are not sure which of the devices may have an outdated driver, you are advised to update all of them if possible.
- If updating the drivers doesn’t work and you are still dealing with excessive CPU usage from the System Interrupts process, then we suggest that you try reinstalling the drivers. To do that, return to the Device Manager and this time, after right-clicking on the problematic driver, select the Uninstall option, and wait for the driver to uninstall.
- Next, restart the computer – once it starts back up again, Windows should automatically install the uninstalled driver, hopefully fixing the problem.
Disable enhancements for your audio devices
Sometimes, the System Interrupts process may face problems with your audio devices if you have an audio enhancement enabled. Disabling this enhancement might help relieve the high CPU consumption.
- To disable an audio enhancement, first right-click on the audio icon from your Taskbar (lower-left corner of the screen).
- From the context menu, select the Playback devices option.
- Next, double-click on the icon that represents the audio device that is currently in use (in my case, it is Speakers).
- Go to the Enhancements tab and look at the different enhancements in the list. If any of them are enabled (there’s a tick next to them), uncheck them by removing the tick, click on Apply and then close the window. Alternatively, you can tick the box next to the Disable all enhancements option to disable all of them at once.
- Restart the machine to see if there has been any change.
Disabling Wake on Magic Packet
Wake on Magic Packet is a system function that can be allowed to wake up your PC whenever data is being transmitted. If this feature is enabled on your computer, this could cause Interrupts that require high amounts of processing power, leading to the issue you are facing. Here is how you can disable it, thus preventing unnecessary CPU usage:
- Open back up the Device Manager and locate the network adapter for your Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections (whichever you are currently using).
- Right-click on the device and select Properties.
- Go to the Advanced tab and, in the list of properties, find the Wake on Magic Packet property.
- Click on Wake on Magic Packet and then change its value to Disabled.
- Click on OK to confirm the action and then restart the computer. See if the problem has been resolved, and if it hasn’t, go to the next suggested fix.
Disable the Fast Startup feature
Fast Startup is a Windows 8 and 10 feature that allows your computer to boot up quicker by not completely turning off the machine when you shut it down and keeping it in a state that’s somewhere between a full shutdown and hibernation. Most users don’t even know that this feature is enabled on their Windows 8 and 10 computers but, in some instances, this could be the reason behind the excessive CPU use caused by the System Interrupts process. Here is how you can disable the Fast Startup feature in an attempt to decrease the CPU usage from the Interrupts process:
- Type power in the search box of the Start Menu and open the item labeled Choose a power plan.
- In the window labeled Power Options, click on the Choose what the power buttons do option.
- Next, select the Change settings that are currently unavailable.
- Now, uncheck the box next to the Turn on fast startup option and then click on Save Changes.
Updating your BIOS
This is the most advanced of all the fixes mentioned there and it should only be resorted to if none of the other suggestions have worked so far. Also, it is not recommended to try it on your own if you are an inexperienced computer user because, if not done correctly, it could result in serious hardware problems that may not be reversible.
Updating the BIOS for each motherboard might be different so we cannot give you concrete instructions here. To update your computer’s BIOS, go to the motherboard’s manufacturer site and download the most recent version of the BIOS. There, you should also find relevant instructions on how to install the update. If you don’t know the model of your motherboard, here is how you can learn it:
- Open the Command Prompt with Administrative privileges by typing cmd in the Window search box, right-clicking on the first search result item, and selecting Run as Administrator.
- In the Command Prompt window, type the “wmic bios get serialnumber” command and hit the Enter button.
- This should give you the serial key of your motherboard. From here on, you should go to the site of its manufacturer, search for this specific motherboard model, and download its latest update.
We sincerely hope that one of our fix suggestions have helped you resolve the CPU usage issue caused by System Interrupts. We are ready to answer any questions that you may have with regard to the issue that we cover in this article and the different suggested solutions. Most of the instructions here should be easy to complete for everybody, but if you struggle with anything, do not hesitate to request our help in the comments section. Also, if you reach the final suggestion (the BIOS update) and nothing prior to it has helped with the problem, we once again highly recommend that you only go through with this last fix on your own if you are confident that you can complete it correctly. Otherwise, as we said, the end result might be damaging to your computer.