Microsoft IME causes high CPU usage on Windows 10 [Fix]

By: Madeleine Dean
3 minute read

Microsoft rolled out the fix script for KB3194496 last week to solve the annoying install issues users had reported. However, judging by recent user reports, it’s better to stay away from update KB3194496 altogether.

We already know that KB3194496 brings many issues of its own, but recent reports have revealed that this update affects CPU usage as well. This bug is a severe one because CPU usage sometimes reaches even 80% when idle. All the Windows 10 users who installed KB3194496 are affected by high CPU usage issues, but it appears that Surface Pro 4 users are particularly plagued by this bug, especially those who also installed the Chinese Simplified language pack.

Microsoft IME triggers high CPU usage

Following the “Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB3194496)” on 2016-09-29 the Microsoft IME process is using a large amount of CPU causing my Surface Pro 4 i5 to get very hot, the fan to come on and burning through my battery etc.

I’ve tried uninstalling the Chinese language pack, rebooting and reinstalling it which has not fixed the problem. The only way to stop the high CPU use is to uninstall the Chinese language pack, end the Microsoft IME task and reboot the machine. I assume this is a bug in this Windows 10 update which is going to need fixing.

Two weeks after these issues were first reported, the situation is exactly the same. Update KB3194496 still causes high CPU usage, but at least Microsoft officially acknowledged the issue. The funniest part is that the company actually recommends users to keep KB3194496 on their computers.

We’re still collecting information about this issue. We don’t recommend that you remove any installed updates. However, if you must remove an update, you can do so from the update history.

Apart from the high CPU usage, this bug also causes big noise as the fan tries to cool down the processor. As a result, battery is severely drained and often lasts for no more than one hour.

What is even more surprising is that the annoying high CPU usage issues are still present even after users uninstall KB3194496 and reboot their computers. The good news is that there is a workaround available to fix this problem, but it doesn’t work for all users. You can try it and see if it gets the job done for you.

Fix Microsoft IME high CPU issues

1. Right-click the process ChsIME.exe in Task Manager > Open file location
2. Right-click the file ChsIME.exe > Properties > Security tab
3. Click “Advanced” at the bottom right
4. Beside “Owner: TrustedInstaller,” click “Change
5. Type in “Administrators” > click “Check Names” > make sure that the keywords you just typed in are underlined > click OK
6. Click OK to close the advanced dialog
7. Click the “Edit…” button above the “Advanced
8. Under “Group or user names:” click SYSTEM > under “Permissions for SYSTEM” check “Deny” on the “Read & execute” row. > click OK
9. Click “Advanced” at the bottom right again > repeat steps 4, 5, 6, but type “NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller” in step 5 to restore the owner to the original
10. Click OK to finish everything
11. Restart your computer.

Use the comment section below to tell us if this workaround solved the problem for you.

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