Memory and CPU are the defining part of all systems, and they are the reason why we can use our computers efficiently. However, several users have found issues related to memory leaks and extensive RAM and CPU usage brought by the Ntoskrnl.exe system file or in some way related to it. Extreme problems have known to cause the BSOD error popularly known as blue screen error caused due to memory dumps.


What is Ntoskrnl.exe and What Does It Do?

Have you ever wondered how an operating system as vast as Windows 10 handles all our process so efficiently, especially operations related to memory? It is all because of the memory handler that Windows uses. Ntoskrnl.exe, which is an acronym for Windows NT operating system kernel or kernel image is a system application that provides the kernel and executive layers of the Windows NT kernel space and is directly responsible for various system services such as virtualization of hardware, process and memory management.

The memory management system includes a fundamental process like the cache manager, the executive, the scheduler, the kernel, the security reference monitor, and the memory manager. Ntoskrnl.exe is a hugely secured file, which implies that corruption or deletion of this file is next to impossible.

Memory management solely depends on the decode and fetch method to work. The fetch part of this includes loading a task in memory or RAM along with the program that makes the execution of that particular task feasible. Now comes the decoding part where the CPU decodes and executes the task and saving the result into the RAM, which later gets stored in the disk by the loaded program itself.

The execution of the task depends on many factors, such as knowing which devices will have access to the execution part. We need to free up space now to allow other tasks to continue, and to do so, and the program is unloaded from the memory along with the processed data and even the data which is in process mode.

Why is Ntoskrnl.exe Taking High Disk Space, Memory and CPU

It is a common doubt among peers that if Ntoskrnl.exe is a memory manager process, then why does it have such a devastating effect on the memory and CPU. Either malwares or hardware causes some of the very critical cases of memory leaks.

Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage

1. New Compressed Memory on Windows 10

Following the release of Windows 10 Build 10525, Microsoft issued a statement which can be summarized as follows:

Windows 10, we’ve added a replacement idea within the Memory Manager referred to as a compression store, which is an in-memory assortment of compressed this suggests that once Memory Manager feels memory pressure, it’ll compress unused pages rather than writing them to disk.

It reduces the quantity of memory used per method, permitting Windows ten to take care of additional applications in physical memory at a time. It additionally helps give higher responsiveness across Windows ten. The compression store lives within the System process’s operating set.

Since the system method holds the shop in memory, its operating set grows larger, specifically once memory is being created accessible for alternative processes. This can be visible in Task Manager and, therefore, the reason the System method seems to be intense additional memory than previous releases.

Windows 10 has been built for the large memory use but can sometimes be mistaken as a memory leak. Windows 10, on its quest for optimum speed, gives up on memory. Inspired from the Linux system, Windows took the liberty to compress pages on your RAM instead of straight forward writing of pages on the HDD.

This will obviously lead to a faster system as it is clear that reading the compressed data from the RAM is much more efficient than reading it from HDD and then loading it into the RAM. The CPU usage goes up because the more applications you open, the more memory will be used.

2. Bad or Outdated Device Drivers

Device drivers are an important part of the process as ntoskrnl,exe conducts the data transfer through them while interacting with different devices. The data transmitted is corresponded to the random-access memory to complete the execution of instruction from there itself.

Corrupt drivers may send data promptly and without further wait, thus, causing a memory leak. All of the data is handled by the central processing unit when prompted by the random-access memory, which stuffs itself up with all of the data. While the bad driver may straight away fill the RAM or utilize the space of system file Nroskrnl.exe implying your disk space will fill up at a very fast rate. The outdated “Killer Network Drivers” has been reported to be a cause of memory leaks on Windows 10.

3. Malware and viruses

The Internet is full of software and freeware that can intentionally harm your System. A lot of malwares and virus intentionally embed themselves into system files to hijack its functionality and hence lead to faulty services. Highly protected system files like Ntoskrnl.exe, if hijacked, can lead to memory leaks, even alter the registry of it to corrupt its execution. Malwares are designed to harm your System, and this system file can malfunction and let all the data stream into the RAM and not let out any, thus filling up the memory, and HDD shows full.

When a system file is attacked like this, it goes into a panic mode and starts dumping Windows files to maintain rationality in memory, which is the root cause of BSOD or popularly known as a blue screen error. It may also lead to overheating and shutting down of computer without any warning to prevent frying its hardware.

4. Corrupt Ntoskrnl.exe System File

Ntoskrnl.exe rarely gets corrupt, but it becomes an absolute nightmare once it malfunctions and does not know what and once to jot down into the RAM or what and when to free the RAM space. It more often than not leads to an excess of data and memory pages, leaving the CPU working extra hard to manage this memory space, which might be the reason your HDD shows its full while it’s not.

How to Fix Ntoskrnl.exe High CPU or Disk Usage on Windows 10

Malwares may be a reason for the sudden memory leaks and high usage of CPU you are experiencing. Here are some fixes to ntoskrnl.exe overwhelming plenty of memory space.

Method 1: Update Your Drivers

Its safe to assume that after a Windows update, graphics and network drivers are the primary cause for a memory leak. “Killer Network Drivers” seems to be present in all the faulty systems. The simple guide to update your drivers is given below:

Step 1 – Firstly, open Run using shortcut Windows + R.

Step 2 – Secondly, navigate to “Drivers” and choose “Update Drivers”. Choose the automatic option to find and install updated drivers from the Internet.

Step 3 – Restart your Windows system.

Method 2: Run antimalware and Antispyware Applications to Scan Your System

Scanning your System for malware is a good idea. Downloading a third party software is also a pretty good option.

Step 1 – At first, download Spybot or Malwarebytes.

Step  2 – Then, install the software and scan the complete System. Fix all the diagnosed issues.

Step 3 – Finally, restart your PC.

Method 3: Change Registry Settings

Windows provides us with a workaround to adjust some settings in the registry to provide optimum performance. The easiest way to edit these settings are:

Step 1 – First of all, press “Windows+ R.” It is to start the “Run” application.

Step 2 – Second of all, type within the dialogue box the command “regedit.” Now, open the subsequent address:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE ⇒ SYSTEM ⇒ CurrentControlSet ⇒ Control ⇒ Session Manager ⇒ Memory Management.

Step 3 – Then, choose the “Clear Page File Shutdown” registry. Amend the “Value Data” to “1″ and select “OK. “

Step 4 – Finally, reboot your system.

Method 4: Disable Runtime Broker

Runtime broker is a weakly optimized system process. It is known to utilize a significant portion of CPU cycles causing high usage and memory leaks. Disabling Runtime Broker is one of the few solutions to this problem.

Step 1 – At first, go to Start Menu using Windows + S. Then open the Settings app.

Step 2 – Then, select System and then choose Notification and Actions. “Show me tips about Windows” and “Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows” needs to be unchecked.

Step 3 – Restart your System.

Or we have an alternative method:

Step 1 – Firstly, open notepad.

Step 2 – Secondly, copy and paste these specific keys into notepad:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\TimeBroker] “Start”=dword:00000003 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\SysMain] “DisplayName”=”Superfetch” “Start”=dword:00000003

Step 3 – Go to File and then Save as. After that, save it as any_name.reg.

Step 4 – Now, run this file as an administrator. Now, comply with the registry changes.

Step 5 – Finally, restart your Windows.



Ntoskrnl.exe is one of the most fundamental parts of the Windows 10 operating system. We need to be careful and always have our antivirus and security systems up to date. For a system file as protected as this one, and still not being able to be completely secure is an indication that we need to be cautious while downloading anything from the Internet.