Hitting 100% GPU Usage? How to Lower it Down

Sometimes users may experience their GPU usage spiking to 100%, causing their system to slow down or even crash. This can be frustrating, especially for gamers who want a seamless gaming experience. Fortunately, several ways exist to address this issue, from checking for malware to updating drivers and optimizing the system settings. In this article, we will look at various methods that can help you reduce your GPU usage and ensure your system runs smoothly without any hiccups.

Why Does Your GPU Usage Spike to 100 Percent?

There can be several reasons why your GPU usage spikes to 100 percent:

  1. Heavy workload: If you are running a graphics-intensive application, such as a video game or video editing software, it can put a heavy workload on your GPU, causing it to spike to 100 percent usage.
  2. Insufficient cooling: If your GPU is not adequately cooled, it can overheat and cause GPU usage to spike. Ensure your system has adequate cooling and your GPU’s fan functions correctly.
  3. Background applications: Other applications running in the background can also cause your GPU usage to spike. Close any unnecessary applications or processes to reduce GPU usage.
  4. Driver issues: Outdated or corrupted GPU drivers can also cause GPU usage to spike. Make sure you have the newest drivers installed for your GPU.
  5. Hardware issues: If your GPU is faulty or damaged, it can cause the GPU usage to spike. You may need to replace your GPU if it is causing consistent spikes in usage.

Monitoring your GPU usage regularly is essential to identify any spikes or abnormalities and take appropriate action to resolve them.

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How to check GPU usage

  1. You can do this by right-clicking on the taskbar, selecting Task Manager from the menu, or pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. Click on the “Performance” tab. This will show you the real-time CPU, Memory, Disk, and GPU usage.
  3. Click on More details if you cannot see the “Performance” tab. More details
  4. Under the GPU tab, you’ll see the current GPU usage for each application or process that is using the GPU. The GPU usage is displayed as a percentage of the total GPU processing power. GPU
  5. To see which applications or processes use the most GPU resources, click the GPU column header to sort the processes by GPU usage.
  6. Look for the application or process using the most GPU resources and take appropriate action to reduce GPU usage.

How to Fix 100% GPU Usage

Here are some steps which can lower your GPU usage:

Fix 1: Ensure Your Device Isn’t Infected With Malware

It is important because malware can cause high GPU usage, and it’s important to rule out that possibility first.

Malware can cause a strain on your GPU, which is often overlooked as a cause of excessive resource usage. In addition, malicious software, such as crypto hijackers, infiltrate devices with the sole intent of utilizing system resources for mining and other purposes. Fortunately, it’s easy to determine if your device has been hijacked.

When you access the Task Manager on a hijacked device, you’ll likely see one or more suspicious processes using many system resources. 

If you determine they are indeed hijackers, taking action immediately is essential. You can perform a Microsoft Defender offline scan or use a reputable third-party antivirus program to locate and remove the malware.

Fix 2: Boot Your Device to Safe Mode

This can help identify if the issue is caused by third-party software or drivers, which can help narrow down the potential cause.

Safe Mode helps identify whether your GPU issue persists by running only the essential drivers. If your GPU usage appears normal in Safe Mode, specific programs or drivers are probably causing the 100% GPU usage.

Here are the steps to enable Safe Mode in Windows:

  1. Press the Win + R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type “msconfig” and tap on OK to open the System Configuration window. msconfig in Run
  3. In the System Configuration window, select the “Boot” tab.
  4. Under the Boot options, tick the box next to “Safe boot” and then select the “Minimal” option.
  5. Click on “OK” to save the changes. Boot Your Device to Safe Mode
  6. Restart your PC to boot into Safe Mode.

Once in Safe Mode, check your GPU usage using Task Manager. If the GPU usage looks normal, you can begin troubleshooting the problematic programs or drivers causing the issue.

Fix 3: Update the Graphics Driver

Updating your graphics drivers is another effective way to resolve graphics-related problems, such as 100% GPU usage. Here are the actions to update your graphics card drivers:

  1. Start the Device Manager and tap on the Display adapters option. 
  2. Right-click on the graphics card and select Update driver. Update Driver
  3. Pick the Search automatically for updated driver software option. Update Automatically
  4. Wait while the operating system searches for, downloads, and installs your graphics card’s latest version of drivers.

Finally, restart your computer after installation to ensure the new drivers are correctly applied.

Fix 4: Reinstall Your Graphics Card Driver

Maintaining up-to-date graphics card drivers is crucial for game players with high-powered graphics cards to keep their systems running smoothly. Here are some steps to uninstall and reinstall your graphics card drivers:

  1. Start the Device Manager by typing “Device Manager” in the search bar and pressing Enter.
  2. Click on the “Display adapters” option.
  3. Right-click on your graphics card and choose Uninstall device.Uninstall Driver
  4. Tick the box subsequent to Delete the driver software for this device.
  5. Click on Uninstall to confirm the action.
  6. Once the driver is uninstalled, the operating system will automatically install a new one for the graphics card.

Fix 5: Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is a less commonly known cause of excessive GPU resource consumption. This technology offloads graphic-intensive tasks to specialized hardware, such as a GPU, to reduce the burden on the CPU and improve its performance. However, this process can overburden the GPU, resulting in high GPU usage.

To disable hardware acceleration, follow these steps:

  1. Open the application you want to disable hardware acceleration (e.g., your web browser).
  2. Click the menu button (usually represented by three dots or lines) in the application window’s top right corner.
  3. Select “Settings” or “Options” from the drop-down menu. Three dots and settings
  4. Look for a section labeled “Advanced” or “System.”
  5. Scroll down until you see an option labeled “Use hardware acceleration when available.”
  6. Toggle this option off to disable hardware acceleration. System and Toggle Off
  7. Close and restart the application to apply the changes.

Keep in mind that the exact steps may vary depending on the application you are using. Additionally, disabling hardware acceleration may affect the application’s performance, so testing the application after making this change is recommended to see if it resolves the issue with high GPU usage.

Fix 6: Check for Hardware Issues

You can boot into safe mode to ensure the problem is not due to an issue with your GPU hardware. Safe mode only loads the necessary files and drivers, so if your GPU usage still spikes in safe mode, the problem might be hardware-related. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Check that your GPU is correctly seated in its PCI slot.
  2. Make sure that power connections are perfectly clipped in.
  3. Ensure that other connections are not loose.
  4. Verify that the GPU is not overheating.

Suppose you have checked everything above and none of these factors is the culprit. In that case, you may need to have your GPU inspected by a qualified technician.

Fix 7: Stop Overstressing Your GPU

If your GPU usage reaches 100 percent in Task Manager, you may be pushing your GPU to its limits. To determine if this is the case, check the GPU requirements of the process consuming the most GPU resources in Task Manager.

For example, if playing a specific game causes the GPU usage to spike to 100 percent, check the game’s recommended or required system requirements. Suppose the game’s GPU power requirements exceed what your graphics card can provide. In that case, the game will likely use all available processing power, leading to high GPU usage.

To reduce GPU usage, you can close the task causing the high usage. Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Right-tap on the Windows Start button and select Task Manager.
  2. Sort processes by GPU usage by clicking on the GPU column.
  3. Right-click on the process at the top of the list and click End Task. Ending GPU task

Suppose the high GPU usage occurs only for a specific process, such as when playing a video game. Then, you can optimize the game settings to achieve the best performance without overtaxing your GPU. For example, lowering the game’s resolution and adjusting the frame rate can help achieve balance. Turning off unnecessary settings such as overlay and instant replay can also help reduce GPU usage.


Finally, GPU usage spiking to 100% can be a challenging problem to address, but it’s not unsolvable. Following the methods outlined in this article can reduce your GPU usage and optimize your system’s performance. If you’ve tried everything and the problem persists, it’s time to seek professional help. Whatever the case, it’s crucial to address this issue sooner rather than later to avoid more severe damage to your system. With the right approach and tools, you can enjoy a seamless computing experience without annoying lags or crashes.

What causes GPU usage to spike to 100%? 

Several factors can cause GPU usage to spike to 100%, including outdated drivers, malware infections, background processes, and graphics-intensive applications.

How often should I update my graphics drivers?

It’s recommended to update your graphics drivers every three to six months or whenever a new game or software requires it. However, you can also set your graphics drivers to update automatically.

How can I optimize my game settings to reduce GPU usage?

You can optimize your game settings to reduce GPU usage by lowering the resolution, turning off unnecessary features like shadows and reflections, and reducing the graphics quality.

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