How to Stop System and Compressed Memory From Using All Your Computer’s CPU and Disk

How to Stop System and Compressed Memory From Using All Your Computer’s CPU and Disk

/ Shayne Sherman

When your system begins to slow down, the first place some people turn is to the Task Manager to see what is causing the problem. In recent years, one of the issues people are seeing is the System and Compressed Memory taking up all their computer disk, memory, or CPU power.

In general, this process should only be using a minor amount of the memory, CPU, and disk, but if you noticed it has become a processing power dominator, this article can help you resolve the issue.

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Keep in mind that the System and Compressed Memory app will use a lot of memory when the system is idle.

What Causes System and Compressed Memory Processing Error?

There are a few underlying causes for this system error:

  • You were fiddling around with the settings for virtual memory and changed the paging file size to a set value instead of the “Automatic” default.
  • There is a corruption in one of the memory files
  • Third-party software is interfering with the System and Compressed Memory operation

The System and Compressed Memory is responsible for managing your PC’s memory. When it is working correctly, it improves performance by compressing unused pages instead of just writing them to the disk. This should reduce the amount of memory needed and allow you to have more applications running at the same time.

It also allows your computer to improve its response time. Because of the way it works, it can end up using a lot of memory if you have several apps open and are not using them. However, once you begin using an app, the System and Compressed Memory is supposed to stop using so many resources.

How Can I Tell if It’s an Issue?

In updated versions of Windows 10, Microsoft has hidden this operation in the Task Manager. To see if Memory Compression is causing the problem, you need to open the Task Manager and click on the “Performance” tab.

At the bottom of the window, you will see the option to “Open the Resource Monitor.” In the Resource Monitor window that opens, go to the “Disk” tab. Now, scroll the list to see if Memory Compression is using most of the memory.

Resolve the System and Compressed Memory Processing Error

Update Your Antivirus and Scan Your Computer

Viruses cause many memory consumption issues. To make sure that a virus isn’t contributing to the Compressed Memory processing issue, first, you should update your antivirus software.

All antivirus software is different, but if you are using the built-in Windows Defender, you simply type “Windows Defender” into the Start menu, select it, and click “Check for Updates Now” when it opens.

When your antivirus is up-to-date, you need to then run a full system scan. (If you don’t have an Antivirus program make sure you check out our updated list of the best antivirus for Windows.)

Once the scan is complete, have the antivirus remove any viruses it found and restart your computer.

If you are using a third-party antivirus, you should not only do the steps above, but you also need to make sure that Windows Defender is disabled. Windows 10 should have automatically done that, but you can find out more about disabling it here.

Run the Windows 10 System Maintenance Troubleshooter

The troubleshooter will clean up any shortcuts and files that may be interfering with the System and Compressed Memory

Step #1

Press the [R] key and the [Windows] key at the same time. Then type or cut and paste “msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic” into the ‘Run’ box that appears without quotation marks.

msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic on run box

Step #2

Click “Advanced.”

advanced button on system maintenance

Step #3

Now, make sure “Apply repairs automatically” has a checkmark next to it and click “Run as administrator.” Then click “Next.”

check apply repairs automatically

The troubleshooter will run and automatically clean up files that need to be fixed. If it gives you instructions, follow them to deal with the problems it finds.

When it is finished, see if the Memory Compression is no longer using so much CPU power.

Return the Page File Size to the Automatic Setting

Windows 10 is designed to work with the computer managing the paging file size. Although users can access this option and set it to a fixed value, doing so will interfere with the way Windows apps, such as the System and Compressed Memory app, work.

This method tells you how to restore the setting to automatic.

Step #1

Open the Start menu click on the Settings icon.

settings icon on start menu

Step #2

Type “performance” into the Settings window search bar. Click the option to “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.”

adjust the appearance and performance of Windows

Step #3

Choose the “Advanced” tab in the Performance Options pop-up window.

advanced tab in performance options window

Step #4

Make sure the box next to “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” has a checkmark in it and click “OK.”

checked automatically managing paging file size

Step #5

Now, you should be back on the Performance options pop-up window. Click “Apply” and then “OK.” Choose to restart your computer so the changes can take effect.

apply and ok on advanced tab in performance options

Continue with the next method if you still notice the System and Compressed Memory is monopolizing your CPU.

See Also: How to Set Your CPU Priority So It Prefers Foreground Apps

Optimize Visual Effects

Sometimes optimizing the visual effects performance resolves this issue. Here is how to do this method:

Step #1

As in the previous method, open the Start menu click on the Settings icon.

Type “performance” into the Settings search bar. Click to “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.”

adjust the appearance and performance of Windows

Step #2

This time, when the Performance Options window appears, stay on the “Visual Effects” tab and make sure the circle next to “Adjust for best performance” is selected.

select adjusted for best performance in performance options

Step #3

Now choose “Apply” and then “OK.”

click apply and ok button on visual effects tab

Step #4

Close any programs or windows you have open. Then click the Power icon in the Start menu and choose to Restart your computer.

restart button

Disable Hibernate and Fast Startup and Enable Maximum Power Savings

The hibernate and fast startup options allows your computer to sleep and then restart quickly after a shutdown. System and compressed memory are involved in this feature, so disabling them can lower the memory used.

Step #1

Type “control panel” into the Start menu and choose that option from the list that populates.

control panel on desktop app

Step #2

Type “Power options” into Control Panel search bar and choose “Choose what power buttons do” from the available options.

Choose what power buttons do on power options

Step #3

Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable“.

click change settings that are currently unavailable

Step #4

Now scroll down to the Shutdown settings. make sure there is not a checkmark next to “Turn on fast startup (recommended)” and “Hibernate.” Then click “Save changes.”

unchecked turn on fast startup and hibernate on shutdown settings

Step #5

You should see the “Choose or customize a power plan” window when the previous window closes after saving. Now choose, “Change plan settings” for the plan you currently have active.

change plan settings on power options

Step #6

Now click “Change advanced power settings.”

change advanced power settings on edit plan settings

Step #7

Scroll down and open the “Sleep” option. Open “Sleep after” and make sure the option(s) is set to “Never.” Now set the option(s) under “Hibernate after” to “Never” as well. Click “Apply.”

sleep after and hibernate set to never on sleep option

Step #8

Now scroll down to “PCI Express” and expand it. Open “Link StatePowerManagement” and make sure its option(s) is set to “Maximum power savings.” Click “Apply” again and then click “OK.”

clear host cache button

Step #9

Open the Start menu and click the Power icon. Choose “Restart” and allow your computer to restart.

restart button

Check to see if the memory usage has returned to normal.

Turn off Windows Tips Notifications

Windows Tips are another app that operates in the background and can cause problems with CPU usage. Shutting them off can resolve your issue.

Step #1

Click the Settings icon in the Start menu.

settings icon on start menu

Step #2

Click “System” in the Settings window.

system on settings window

Step #3

get tips, tricks, and suggestions is set to off in notifications and actions

On the left-side menu, choose “Notifications & actions.” Then make sure the option to “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions” is set to “Off.”

Uninstall Unused Apps

In addition to closing any open windows you aren’t using, you can help resolve the issue by uninstalling any unused apps.

The more apps you have on your computer, the more likely they are going to be running in the background and performing updates or maintenance tasks that can interfere with the Compressed Memory app.

Make sure you backup your computer before performing this method in case you accidentally remove a program you need. You can learn how to create a system restore point here.

Step #1

Type “control panel” into the Start menu again and choose that option from the list that populates.

control panel on desktop app

Step #2

Click on the option to “Uninstall a program.”

uninstall a program on program option

Step #3

Scroll through the list of programs. Uninstall those you do not need or use by clicking on the program and then clicking the “Uninstall” button at the top of the list.

uninstall or change on programs and feature

You will need to restart your computer and then check the Task Manager to see if the problem is resolved.

Run Disk Cleanup

This Windows 10 built-in app is designed to clean up shortcuts and files that may be interfering with the System and Compressed Memory.

Step #1

Open the Start menu and type in “Disk Cleanup.” Then click to open that app.

disk cleanup on start menu

Step #2

Select the drive you want to clean. This is usually the C: drive. If you are unsure, repeat this method until you have cleaned all the drives.

disk cleanup on drive selection

Step #3

clean up system files button

Make sure there is a checkmark next to all the files you wish to delete. Then click “Clean up system files.”

Step #4

You should return to the select a drive window in Step #2. If you want to clean another drive, select it. Otherwise, close the window and click on the Power icon on the Start menu to restart your computer.

Run a System File Check and Repair the Windows Image

The system file check is designed to automatically repair and fix corrupt files on your computer. You can access this app through PowerShell.

Step #1

Press the [X] and the [Windows] keys on your keyboard at the same time. Choose “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” on the menu that appears and choose “Yes” if the system asks if you want to allow that app to make changes.

windows powershell (admin)

Step #2

In the PowerShell window that opens, type “sfc /scannow” (without the quotation marks) into it and press [Enter]. Wait until the process is done. It may take some time to complete.

system scan now

Step #3

When the scan is complete, and you see a new prompt, type “Repair-WindowsImage -RestoreHealth” (without the quotation marks) into it or copy and paste the command. Press [Enter] when you are done.

Again, it may take some time for the repair to finish.

repair windowsimage restorehealth

Step #4

When the scan finishes, you must restart your computer. Open the Start menu, click the Power icon, and choose “Restart.”

restart button

If you still see the System and Compressed Memory slowing your computer performance, continue to the next method.

Test Your RAM

RAM can develop memory problems. RAM problems affect how memory is used. The following method allows you to check your RAM.

Step #1

Close any open programs and save your work. Type “mdsched” into the Start menu and select “Windows Memory Diagnostic” from the list.

mdsched on start menu

Step #2

In the pop-up window that appears, choose “Restart now and check for problems.”

Restart now and check for problems

Step #3

Your computer will run a memory check and restart. The check can take a while, but it is important not to interrupt it.

When the computer finished the check and is completely rebooted, type “event” into the Start menu and select “Event Viewer.”

event viewer on start menu

Step #4

On the left side of the window that opens, open the “Windows Logs” menu and click on “System” once.

event viewer system

Step #5

Now, you need to click “System” again, but this time use a right-click, which will bring up another menu.

Choose “Filter current log.” You will be unable to select this option if you did not left-click “System” first.

filter current log option

Step #6

In the Filter Log window, click on the drop-down menu next to “Event sources.” Scroll down (the menu is quite long) until you find “MemoryDiagnostics-Results.” Place a checkmark in the box next to that and click “OK.”

checked MemoryDiagnostics-Results in event sources

Step #7

This will return you to the Event Viewer, where you should have about two “Events” listed in the filtered log.

Click each event and look at the information provided. If no errors are detected, go on to the next method.

You do not have issues with your RAM hardware. If you do see an error, you need to continue to Step #8.

events list in filtered log

Step #8

If you have a problem with your RAM, the only way to fix it is to replace your RAM sticks. You can test each one, if you prefer, by shutting down your computer and removing all the sticks except the one you are testing.

Then you can reboot your computer and rerun steps #1-7. Repeat this with all the sticks.

Replace any that had errors with factory recommended RAM sticks. When you have replaced all the faulty RAM sticks, check to see if the System and Compressed Memory has returned to normal CPU usage.

Upgrade Your RAM

It is possible the memory problems are occurring because you simply need more RAM. If you have available slots or if you can upgrade the RAM sticks you have to ones with more memory, this is an easy way to resolve the problem.

Run Check Disk in the Command Prompt

Corrupt files are the key reason behind many incidences where the Compressed Memory function uses too much CPU power in Windows 10. You can check your computer disk drives for errors by following these steps:

Step #1

Type “Command Prompt” into the Start menu. Right-click on the “Command Prompt” option and choose “Run as administrator” from the drop-down menu. Click “Yes” to give the program permission to make changes and continue to the Command Prompt.

cmd prompt run as administrator

Step #2

At the prompt, enter “chkdsk c: /r” without quotation marks. Keep in mind that C: is the name of the drive you wish to check,

Now press “Enter.”

chkdsk c: /r in command prompt

Step #3

The system will prompt you to restart the system. Choose “Y” to restart now and press “Enter.”

This process can take some time, especially if it is the first time you have done it.  However, Windows should automatically repair any errors it finds.

Update Drivers

Updating drivers can take time. For this reason, you should first update any drivers for graphics, video, and the processor first. Be sure to check if these resolve the issue before continuing to update the rest of your drivers.

Step #1

Press the [X] key and the [Windows] key together on your keyboard. This opens the Quick Link menu where you need to choose “Device Manager.”

device manager in quick link menu

Step #2

Click the first type of device to expand it. Now, right-click on the name of the first device listed and click “Properties.”

device properties

Step #3

In the driver tab, choose “Update Driver.”

update driver

Step #4

search automatically for updated drivers software

When you click Update Driver, you will see an option to have the computer automatically search for driver software. Choose this option.

Alternatively, you can make a note of the driver version you currently have and check on the manufacturer’s website for the latest version. If you do not have the latest version, you can download it and install it manually from the manufacturer’s website.

Step #5

The computer should perform an automatic search. If your driver is up-to-date, you will see a message stating you already have the best driver installed for that device.

Otherwise, the computer should automatically update the driver. Close the pop-up window once the search (and update if needed) is finished.

Return to the device manager window (and Step #2) and follow the instructions for the next device until you have checked for driver updates on all the types of devices and device drivers that are listed.

best drivers are installed

Step #6

Once you have checked for updates for every driver on the list, restart your computer.

restart button

Again, check your CPU usage. Continue reading if you still haven’t resolved the error.

Don’t Run the System and Compressed Memory Process With the Highest Privileges

Usually, this process is set to run with the highest privileges. Simply changing this can resolve the problem. Before doing this method, you want to create a System Restore point or backup drive.

Step #1

Type “task scheduler” into the Start menu and choose that option from the list that populates.

task scheduler on start menu

Step #2

Click on the “Task Scheduler Library” in the left-side menu. This will expand it. Then choose “Microsoft” and then “Windows.”

wndows on task scheduler library

Step #3

Now, click “MemoryDiagnostic.”

memorydiagnostic in task scheduler

Step #4

In the center box, you should see the option “RunFullMemoryDiagnostic.” Click it. Then, on the right side of the window, you will see another menu. Under “Selected Item” choose “Properties.”

runfullmemorydiagnostic properties

Step #5

Run with highest privileges unchecked

In the pop-up properties window, make sure the box next to “Run with highest privileges” is not checked, and click “OK.”

Step #6

Restart your computer to allow the changes to occur.

Reassign the System and Compressed Memory Process to Run Under Your User Account

In Windows 10 Administrator User accounts that are managed by the computer are created. Microsoft tasks run under these accounts. This method shows you how to reassign the task to run under your account.

You must have a User Account with Administrative privileges to use this method. Before doing this method, you want to create a System Restore point or backup drive.

Step #1

Type “task scheduler” into the Start menu again, and open it.

task scheduler on start menu

Step #2

Click on the “Task Scheduler Library” in the left-side menu to expand it. Then choose “Microsoft” and then “Windows.” Finally, click “MemoryDiagnostic.”

memorydiagnostic in task scheduler

Step #3

Click “RunFullMemoryDiagnostic” in the center. Then, choose “Properties” on the right side.

runfullmemorydiagnostic properties

Step #4

In the pop-up properties window, click “Change User or Group.”

change user or group button on runfullmemorydiagnostic

Step #5

Another pop-up window will appear, click “Advanced.”

advanced button in select user or group

Step #6

In the Advanced pop-up, click “Object Types” and without making any changes, click “OK.” Then click “Find Now” and select your User Account. Then click “OK.” Click “OK” again to save the changes.

Then close the window and restart your computer.

object types in select user

This method has worked for many users especially if they had upgraded to Windows 10 instead of using a clean install. If you still have problems, continue to the next method to simply disable the process altogether.

Disable the MemoryDiagnostic Task

If you have tried everything else already suggested, you can try disabling tasks directly related to the System and Compressed Memory. Make sure you backup your system before continuing with this method.

Step #1

As before, type “task scheduler” into the Start menu and open it. Click on “Task Scheduler Library” in the left-side menu. Then choose “Microsoft,” “Windows,” and “MemoryDiagnostic.”

memorydiagnostic in task scheduler

Step #2

Now, in the center menu, click “RunFullMemoryDiagnostic.” Then, on the right-side menu select “Disable.”

disable runfullmemorydiagnostic

Step #3

Just as in many of the other methods, you must close the Task Scheduler window and restart your computer before checking to see if you have resolved the problem.

If you are still having trouble with the System and Compressed Memory using too much memory, continue to the next method.

Disable the Speech Runtime Executable Process

In some cases, the Speech Runtime Executable process, which is associated with Windows 10 speech recognition and Cortana is causing the System and Compressed Memory overload. You can remove cortana if you don’t use that feature too.

If you follow this method, you need to backup your computer or create a system restore point before you do it.

Keep in mind, if you disable Speech Runtime Executable, Windows 10 will no longer have speech recognition. Also, as a Microsoft system process, it will reactivate.

Step #1

Right-click on the Task Bar. Choose “Task Manager” from the options that appear.

task manager in taskbar

Step #2

In the “Processes” tab of the Task Manager, find “Speech Runtime Executable” and click on it. Then click “End Task.”

Disable SuperFetch

Superfetch is a part of the memory caching developed by Microsoft. Although it was developed to speed up the performance of your computer, in many cases it starts to take over the CPU and can cause the Compressed Memory to balloon out of control.

If you use an SSD or M.2 drive, chances are good you won’t notice any performance issues at all after you disable SuperFetch. In other cases, you may disable it and find you want to enable it again.

Step #1

Press the [R] key and the [Windows] key at the same time. Type “services.msc” into the Run window prompt that appears without using quotation marks. Then click “OK.”

services.msc on run box

Step #2

Scroll down the list until you find “Superfetch” and double-click on it to open its properties window.

superfetch in services window

Step #3

In the properties box, click “Stop.” Then adjust the “Startup type” to “Disabled.” Finally, click “Apply” and then “OK.”

superfetch properties

At this point, the first thing you need to determine is if this fixed the Memory Compression CPU usage issue. Then, you need to find out if this caused slower performance problems. If you need to, this step is easily reversible, and you can move on to the next method if you still haven’t resolved your problem.

Do a Clean Boot

If third-party apps are interfering with the Memory Compression, restarting the computer without these running should fix the issue. When you do a clean boot, it reboots the computer with only the necessary Microsoft apps running.

Step #1

Log as an administrator. Then, press the [R] key and the [Windows] key together. Type “msconfig” in the Run box without quotation marks, and click “OK.”

msconfig on run box

Step #2

In the System Configuration window, click the “Services” tab. Make sure that “Hide all Microsoft services” has a checkmark next to it.

Click the button to “Disable all.”

disable all button in system configuration

Step #3

Now, click the “Startup” tab in the System Configuration window. Then click “Open Task Manager.”

open task manager link on system configuration

Step #4

When the Task Manager opens, click the “Startup” tab if it isn’t already open.

Select each item you find there and click the button to “Disable” it if it isn’t already disabled. When you are finished, close the Task Manager.

disable button in startup tab

Step #5

You should be back in the System Configuration window that is still open, click the “Apply” button and then “OK.”

apply button in system configuration window

Step #6

Now you need to restart your computer. Click on the Power icon found on the Start menu and choose “Restart.”

restart button

Step #7

Once the computer restarts, check the Task Manager to see if the problem is resolved. If the issue is resolved, slowly add in other apps one-at-a-time to see which one is causing the problem.

Since more than one may be interfering, you will need to disable or uninstall any that do.

If you have tried all the methods above and are still having problems, you can check out the blog post on fixing 100% disk use errors on Windows 10 for more ideas.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.