Skip to main content

This background process may consume up to 20% CPU usage

The Phone Link app being used on a phone and laptop screen.

A bug that was first spotted almost two weeks ago in a recent Windows 11 build is still there, and while Microsoft has acknowledged it, there have been no updates as to when a fix might be released. The issue stems from a feature that should otherwise run in the background and suddenly results in up to 20% CPU usage when idle. We’re talking about the Windows Cross Device Service.

The service in question helps your Windows PC connect and share files across other devices. For most of us, that means features such as Phone Link, which is Microsoft’s attempt at replicating Apple’s seamless ecosystem. It can be used to send texts, download photos, and use apps from your computer without having to pick up the phone. However, with the new bug, you might be better off disabling the Cross Device Service entirely.

Reports of issues with CPU usage first appeared on June 4 on the Windows 11 forum, and then again the next day on the Microsoft forum. One user said that they noticed that their CPU fan was running at full speed, but the PC was still producing high idle temperatures. Checking the Task Manager revealed that the processor was running at a constant 7% to 10%, all because of the Microsoft Cross Device Service. At the time of writing, 49 other users reacted to say that they had the same issue, and a couple of them claimed to experience even worse CPU usage, reaching as high as 20%.

This bug even made it to the Windows Feedback Hub, where a Microsoft engineer addressed it: “Appreciate your patience, we’ve identified the cause and are working on a fix.” However, a week later, there’s still no fix in sight.

Man using Windows Copilot PC to work

The bug appears in the most recent Windows Insider build, and users who are not Insiders are most probably safe for now — I’m not experiencing any issues on my Windows 11 computer. Phone Link can often be clunky, but it remains a background process without affecting the rest of my PC.

If you’re running the latest Windows Insider build and experiencing high CPU usage, disabling Cross Device Service can help, although the process often comes back after a reboot. Users on the Microsoft Forum came up with a few suggestions as to how to disable the service while we wait for an official fix.

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
Microsoft, please don’t screw up the Asus ROG Ally
Asus ROG Ally on a purple background.

I'm excited about Asus' upcoming ROG Ally gaming handheld, and mainly for one reason: Windows 11. The device comes with a spec bump over the Steam Deck, and I won't argue with RGB lighting around my thumbsticks, but Windows is what makes the ROG Ally truly stand out.

With Windows, you don't have to worry about a verification program to play your games -- even if Valve has handled the Steam Deck Verified program very well -- and you can access other app stores. And, of course, there's Xbox Game Pass.

Read more
Windows 11 is ditching this almost 20-year-old classic feature
The new snipping tool in Windows 11.

People don't like change, especially when it comes to Windows. As if centering the taskbar in Windows 11 wasn't enough, Microsoft is now going to alter a Windows keyboard shortcut that's been around forever. We're talking about Print Screen, commonly written as PrtSc on keycaps, which currently takes a full-screen screenshot of the screen and saves it to your clipboard. Of course, it can also be used in combination with various keys for other screenshotting shortcuts.

But in recent years, Microsoft has been pushing its separate app, Snipping Tool, which was a modern replacement for Snip & Sketch. Compared to using Print Screen, though, Snipping Tool is a more effective and full-featured way of capturing, saving, and editing screenshots. There's no need to paste your screenshot into Paint just to save it. It can also record video of your screen.

Read more
If your PC is running slowly, the latest Windows 11 update may be to blame
A laptop running Windows 11.

Microsoft may have a problem on its hands -- the latest Windows 11 update doesn't seem to be working as intended. According to various user reports, the update drastically slows SSD speeds, in some cases even cutting them in half.

If you've noticed that your PC is loading slowly or programs aren't running as quickly as you'd hoped, you might be affected by this problem. Here's how to fix it.

Read more