An Insight Into System Interrupts Process: 7 Easy Steps For Troubleshooting

While browsing your Task Manager window, you might have come across “System interrupts” 

What is ‘System Interrupts’ Process?

The Task Manager app in Windows 10 comprises a lot of processes and services that even regular users are not aware of. One such process, in Windows, that may be unknown to some users is ‘System Interrupts’.

System Interrupts is an essential part of Windows and is an aggregate placeholder that is used to display the system resources used by all the hardware interrupts present on your PC. In Windows 10, it is listed as a Windows process, but System Interrupts is just a representation to show that some hardware or software component has sent an interrupt signal to the CPU, and resources are being consumed.

Interrupts

Interrupts are like short messages or signals that are sent to the CPU, in case of some hardware or software related issue, that requires the immediate attention of the CPU. After receiving an interrupt, the CPU pauses its ongoing task and fulfills the requirements of the interrupt using a function called ‘Interrupt Handler’. This can be a software-related issue or some stuff related to the hardware. 

system interrupt process

As soon as the CPU receives the interrupt, the interruption handler pauses the ongoing task and attends to the requirement that caused the interrupt. Once the requirement is fulfilled, it resumes its work.

Interrupts exist to enable the hardware components of your system to inform the CPU that things like “the data you requested are now available”, or “this device would like to send data”. Any time a device or piece of software needs to inform the CPU something about the task it’s performing or needs to instruct the CPU to do something, it raises an Interrupt, which the CPU receives and handles instantly.  

Why does it use so much CPU?

Generally, the System Interrupts process shows less than 1% CPU usage in the Task Manager. Depending on the situation, it can even range between 5% to 10% sometimes, but if it’s more than that, then this issue needs to be addressed.

A consistently high CPU usage typically means that a piece of hardware or its associated driver is not functioning properly. 

Troubleshooting the hardware problem:

Step 1: Restart- First, you need to restart your computer. Restarting your PC can fix a lot of weird functioning issues.

Step 2: Update- If restarting your computer does not fix the usage problem, the next step is to make sure that your computer is updated. With Windows Update, you can have all the latest Windows and driver updates. All you need to do is- make sure drivers that Windows Update does not manage, are also up to date. 

Step 3: Disconnecting Hardware- System interrupts are generally caused by hardware defaulting and cause an increase in the use of system resources. If you can’t figure out which hardware is causing the issue, you need to disconnect your hardware one by one for solving this problem.

  • You need to start by disconnecting the peripherals first. Remove your keyboard and mouse to see if that fixes the problem
  • If you have other external devices connected like mic or speakers, you may remove them one by one to see if they are causing this problem.
  • You can run the Memory Diagnostic tool to check if there is any hardware issue in the system, with the RAM chips.
  • You can even check if there is some issue with the power supply.

After figuring out which device is causing this issue, you can try the next steps.

Step 4: Updating Drivers- If you don’t see any hardware causing this issue, then a device driver might be misbehaving and causing System Interrupts to use high CPU resources.

You can deal with this problem by updating your device drivers.

The steps are:

  1. First, you need to open the ‘WinX menu’ by pressing Win + X or by right-clicking on the Start button.
  2. Now you need to select the ‘Device Manager’ menu.
  3. From the Device Manager, you need to select the hardware device that needs an update.  You will need to right-click on it and then select the ‘Update Driver’ option.
  4. Now you need to select the ‘Search automatically’ option to let Windows choose the best and latest driver available for your device.
  5. After that, you need to check for an update for all the device drivers that are connected to your system.

Please Note: If you have recently updated a driver and any issue comes up, you will need to roll back the driver.

Step 5: Rollback Drivers- 

  1. First, you need to open the ‘WinX menu’ by pressing Win + X or by right-clicking on the ‘Start icon’.
  2. Now you need to select the ‘Device Manager’.
  1. From the Device Manager, you need to select the hardware device on your system that needs an update. After selecting the device, you need to right-click on it and select the ‘Properties menu’.
  2. In the Drivers tab, you will find the ‘Roll-back drivers’ option. You need to select it. 
  3. Next, you need to check if the issue has been resolved after the device driver falls back to the previous version.

Please Note: If you use Windows 7 and updating your drivers did not work on your system, then there may be some issue with your sound effects.

Step 6: Disable Sound Effects-

If you are on Windows 7, this is the most likely cause for the issue.

  1. First, you need to right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and then select the ‘Playback devices’ option.
  1. Now, you need to double click on your default playback device i.e., the speakers, to open the ‘Properties menu’.
  2. In the Enhancements tab, you need to find and select the ‘Disable all sound effects’ option.
  3. From there, you need to check whether the System Interrupts high CPU usage went down or not.

Please Note: If this does not fix the issue on your system then you may need to update your BIOS.

Step 7: Updating BIOS- Sometimes, there are bugs within the BIOS that can cause this issue in your system for which you need to update the BIOS.

Please Note: Bios updates can be tricky and dangerous for your system. Make sure that you back up your system and BIOS, just in case something goes wrong. 

Common misconceptions that users have regarding the System Interrupts process:

1. Can the System Interrupts Process be disabled? 

Well, no, the System Interrupts process can’t be disabled. It is an important component for your PC’s performance since it’s used to handle and report hardware interrupts. 

2. Is this process some kind of virus?

The answer is a big NO. System interrupts is an official component of Windows, hence it is not a virus. In fact, since it is not an actual process System interrupts doesn’t even have an associated. EXE or. DLL file that runs on a system which means that there is no way for it to be hijacked directly by any malware.

Basically, System Interrupts can arise from hardware or driver issues. This was all about why is the ‘System Interrupts’ process running and how to fix the system interrupts high CPU usage. We hope you find this article informative.


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