High disk usage renders Windows 10 unusable

This is a problem I've had for months with no solution in sight, even after trying multiples fixes. Windows 10 ran fine for about 3 months prior to this issue, but ever since this happened I haven't gotten it to run properly since.

A few months ago, I ran into an issue when I installed an update. I believe it was the November update, because it was a larger one where the computer had to restart and had a similar screen to the installation screen (with the circle and all). I let the update install, and when I came back to my computer after a day the installer was still stuck at the same place, somewhere around 60%. I let it go a little longer to no avail, so I restarted the computer and went on with my day. Over the next few days I began to notice that the computer would freeze up after a while. Things would happen gradually, I'd slowly lose the ability to interact with Windows until I could only move my cursor.

After looking into it initially, it seemed like a fairly common issue others were having. My disk usage would go up until it hit 100% and the computer froze. I figured that there was some rogue process that was causing it, so I went to work investigating ways I could fix it. I tried at least 20 different solutions, but no matter what I did the computer would still slow to a halt. And over the week I had spent trying to fix it, it began to happen sooner and sooner. The time that the computer was functional went from 15 minutes to around a minute. It was at the point where I couldn't try anything else, so I started booting in safe mode. The issue followed me there, while I could at least use it for a little longer it still happened.

I resorted to backing up what data I could with the time I had and resetting the computer in hopes of it fixing it. Still didn't work, after the rest the computer would slow down after a minute. At times I couldn't open the task manager to check it, but I knew it was still disk usage since the indicator on my computer was solid. The next thing I tried was doing a clean install, but the disk usage issue hit me even in the installation, so I couldn't even get it installed. I figured it was a hardware problem and left it alone for a while.

Fast forward to now, I tested out Ubuntu as well as Windows 7, and both of them run perfectly fine with no sign of the issue. So I concluded that it's a Windows 10 specific issue. I have tried to update to Windows 10 once or twice, but after the setup is done it boots up the problem comes back.

I'm stumped, don't know how I could fix something like this when it affects the install itself. I've swapped USB keys, updated the bios, reformatted the SSD fully to no avail. If anyone knows how I could troubleshoot this at this point I would appreciate the advice. Would just like to do anything I can to solve it before buying new hardware.

Note that the computer in question is an Intel NUC ( 5th gen, i3 model) with 4gb of ram and a 128GB SSD.


Honorable Member
It might be your profile, check it by creating a new user account and work with that account for a while.

Have you any information of which process is using all those disk I/O?

If it is not your profile you may think of reinstalling Windows, specially now that you had some installation problems: Go to All Settings > Update > System Restore, there is an option to completely reinstall W10. The sources are downloaded to your PC; you don't need an installation disk.

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Windows Forum Team
Staff member
I would also try and determine which process is causing the issue. You can try running Performance monitor (it's built into Windows)

You will want to run the System Diagnostic, click the green arrow to start collecting. Once you encounter the problem let it continue to run for about 20 seconds and hit the square to stop. Move the report from C:\PerfLogs\System\Diagnostic and zip it and upload it here.

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