How to Fix High CPU Usage When Playing Games

High CPU usage is one of the main problems that gamers encounter. High CPU usage causes the computer to run slower than usual. So, you will not enjoy playing games on your PC if this problem persists. 

Pressing the keys Ctrl + Shift + Esc will bring up a list of all the running processes on your computer, allowing you to quickly assess how much of the CPU they are using. Beside each program is a percentage column for CPU usage. So, go to the program’s column and select the game to see how high its CPU usage is. Some gamers’ CPU usage falls between 90 to 100%, and this is a cause for concern.

So, how do you fix high CPU usage when playing games? You can fix this by restarting the computer, checking the GPU drivers, or changing in-game settings. If your computer’s processor is being overworked while you play, read this article for guidance. We give you 7 solutions to reduce CPU usage and increase load speed when playing games.

High CPU Usage When Playing Games

Method 1: Reboot the Computer

You should restart your computer if you face a high CPU usage issue. Restarting your computer is basic troubleshooting for various technical issues. Some people have a habit of never shutting down their system, which can increase temp files that increase CPU usage. These files also affect the speed and memory of the computer. Restarting your computer removes the files and allows the game to function optimally. 

Follow these steps to reboot your computer.

  • Click on “Start,” indicated by the four-squared Windows logo
  • Go to the “Power” option
  • Click “Restart” to reboot the computer

Method 2: Disable Background Apps

If restarting the computer does not fix the problem, inconsequential background programs may be to blame. Do this, especially if your PC’s GPU usage is low and CPU usage is high. Check for nonessential apps running in the background to see their CPU usage. 

Follow these steps to check and disable background apps on your computer.

  • Start by typing “System configuration” into the taskbar search box. Right-click a spot on the taskbar to reveal the search bar if it is hidden. Then, you will see the search option; click on search and type ‘System Configuration.’
  • Open the system configuration option, and you’ll see a parallel list.
  • Click on the ‘Services’ tab. Your device will display a list of installed applications, labeled with their developer and current availability.
  • Tick the checkbox at the bottom left corner that says “Hide all Microsoft Services.”
  • Next, click the ‘Disable all’ option at the right near-bottom corner.
  • To finish the disabling process, click on “OK.”
  • After that, go to the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  • You’ll find a list of programs actively running on your PC. To terminate a running program, right-click it and choose ‘End task.’

After disabling the nonessential background apps, restart your PC to save the changes.

Method 3: Inspect the GPU Drivers 

How to Fix High CPU Usage When Playing Games

Another solution to high CPU usage is checking the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) drivers to ensure they are not faulty. Graphic drivers not compatible with your CPU and system model may affect CPU usage. If you want to fix this, uninstalling and reinstalling the GPU drivers should do the trick.

Follow these steps to uninstall the GPU drivers.

  • Go to the search bar.
  • Search for Device Manager and press enter
  • Click on the ‘Open’ option for the Device Manager.
  • Select “Display Adapters” from the menu. Whatever you find in the Display Adapters path is the GPU driver. People use different kinds of drivers, from AMD to Nvidia to Intel.
  • Next, select “Uninstall Device” from the menu that appears when you right-click the GPU driver.

Ensure that you confirm the name of the product before you uninstall it so that you will reinstall it. To reinstall the accurate GPU driver, visit the manufacturer’s website. Then go to the download area and search for a GPU model compatible with your PC.

Follow the prompts to download the driver on your computer, then restart the system. Alternatively, you can simply update the GPU driver if it is compatible with your system. In that case, it could be an upgrade rather than a compatibility issue.

Method 4: Disable Power-Saving Modes

Disabling power-saving modes is another way to tackle the issue of high CPU usage. Power-saving modes affect the CPU’s running, especially when you play games. As a result, your PC will experience high CPU usage, and turning off the power saver will fix this. 

Follow these steps to disable power-saving modes.

  • Use Windows’ built-in search tool.
  • A menu will appear once you type “Command Prompt” into the search bar.
  • Select ‘Run as administrator,’ and you will be redirected to a black screen with three lines of text.
  • On the third line, where you see “C:\Windows\system32>, just after the right arrow, type ‘shutdown/r/fw’ and click ‘Enter.’ This process automatically restarts your PC to activate the UEFI settings.
  • Next, go to the power saving option and turn it off.
  • After that, manually restart the PC again.
  • When the PC comes back on, go to the search bar and type ‘Power & Sleep’. The Power & Sleep settings will pop up, and then select it.
  • Choose “Additional Power Settings” from the menu on the page’s right. You can find this option below the ‘Related Settings’ category.
  • Select “Change plan settings” to the right of where it says “Balanced (recommended).”
  • After that, click on “Change advanced power settings.”
  • In the drop-down menu, select “High performance,” then click “OK.”

Method 5: Check for Computer Viruses

If CPU usage is still high, it could be due to viruses and malware disguised as regular software. Malware consumes high CPU and GPU rates, which may affect you when playing games.

Malware is not easy to notice, and you mistake them for normal apps.It is recommended that you run a virus scan on your computer immediately. You can scan for viruses using third-party antivirus software or offline Windows security.

Follow these steps to scan for viruses using Windows security.

  • In the search bar, type ‘Windows Security’ and click on it when it appears.
  • You’ll see several options, including “Virus and threat Protection.”
  • A green icon on that option means there is no malware, while a red icon means there could be one. Also, a yellow icon means that there are safety recommendations you should consider. 
  • To run a scan, click on “Virus and threat Protection.”
  • Under “Current Threats,” click on “Quick scan.” If using the older Windows 10, select “Threat history, then “Scan now.”
  • If you don’t want to do the quick scan, you can select “Scan options” instead. In older versions of Windows 10, select “Run a new advanced scan.”

Alternatively, you can download anti-virus software to scan for malware if you don’t want to use the free Windows scanner. After you find them, the next step is removing them, and your system will function normally. 

Method 6: Reset the Game Settings

How to Fix High CPU Usage When Playing Games

Sometimes, the internal settings of the games you are playing cause high CPU usage. If the game’s FPS is high or unlimited, your lower-spec CPU may not be able to handle it. For your CPU usage to reduce, you have to tailor the FPS to match the PC’s specifications. Doing this normalizes the operating capacities between the two units, making them stay on par. 

If you have high CPU and low GPU usage, increase the GPU settings to carry the game. You can keep the GPU settings at Ultra or High to take the load off the CPU. That way, you can easily load games and play them with your CPU usage at an optimal level.

Resetting the game setting should work, but if it does not, then uninstall and reinstall the game. The high CPU usage problem may be a result of an installation issue. During installation, download issues may result in corrupted files, which affects CPU usage. So, uninstalling and reinstalling allows you to get clean game software.

Follow the steps below to uninstall the game.

  • Go to the Windows search bar.
  • Type Control Panel and select the option.
  • Under the “Programs” options, click on “Uninstall program.” This will take you to a page where you see all your programs.
  • Select the game and click on the “uninstall” option that appears. Alternatively, you can right-click the game, and the option will appear.
  • Follow the system prompts to finish the uninstall process.

To reinstall the game:

  • Visit the official store or website of the game provider.
  • Follow the download options to install it on your PC.
  • Check the CPU usage of the game to see if it is still high.

Method 7: Check for System Compatibility

If you apply all these methods and the issue persists, it could be that your computer is incompatible with the game. So, you will have to upgrade your system to play the game without increasing CPU usage. Also, you can upgrade your CPU; get a high-powered one that can carry the game load. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to fix high CPU usage when playing games is vital to enjoying video games. Not only will it increase speed, but it will save your computer from other technical issues that may arise. High CPU usage is a common problem among gamers, so you are not alone. Whatever method you choose, follow the steps carefully to get optimal results.