My CPU usage is at 100%, but task manager says nothing's using over 01%

Last night, I installed the automatic updates for Windows 7 during shutdown, like I normally do. It said there were four updates, and the first one went by pretty speedily. It seemed to get stuck on the second (though it probably didn't -- the blue orb was spinning and the little dots were moving, so I'd assume it was large or slow) for several minutes, update three took a little less time, and by the time it got to update four, I was barely paying attention because I was so tired.

Anyway, I went to start up my laptop (Toshiba Satellite), and on the black start up 'starting windows' screen with the flag/banner, it said it had to install/configure 360 some odd updates. I'd seen this before, though I can't remember how recently, so I thought nothing of it. I'm still not sure whether or not it meant anything significant.

Now the problem is that my cpu usage is constantly at 100%, yet when I finally manage to open task manager, NONE of the processes listed use anything over 1%, and those fluctuate. I can boot easily into safe mode, and from there I've disabled the start up processes, such as google task bar helper and itunes related things, but I still boot up normally to 100%.

Any ideas? It would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm off to college next year and I'd really not like to worry about figuring out how to get a new machine.


Question Info

Last updated July 4, 2019 Views 38,706 Applies to:

Hi Renae92,


  1. Do you have any security software installed on the computer?
  2. Does the high CPU usage occur after the startup process?


Method 1

As the issue does not persist in the safe mode then there is a possibility that some third party programs installed on the computer is causing the issue.

I would suggest that you place the computer in clean boot state and check.

To help troubleshoot error messages and other issues, you can start Windows Vista or Windows 7 by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This kind of startup is known as a "clean boot." A clean boot helps eliminate software conflicts.

Refer the article to know more about clean boot procedure.

How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7

Reset the computer to start as usual

After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start as usual:

a)         Click Start, type msconfig in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

b)         If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type in your password, or click Continue.

c)         On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.

d)         When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.


Method 2

If the above step fails then I would suggest that you run the performance troubleshooter and check if it helps.

Open the Performance troubleshooter

Ways to improve your computer's performance

2 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.