Windows Shell Experience Host Causing High CPU Usage

Windows Shell Experience Host Causing High CPU Or Memory Usage. How To Fix It

Windows Shell Experience Host is an official part of Microsoft Windows operating systems and responsible for displaying universal apps in a 'windowed' interface. It is also responsible for controlling graphical elements of the interface such as Task Bar visibility, Start Menu, and other visuals. If you have a changing background (perhaps from selecting a slideshow as the background), the Windows Shell Experience Host controls this desktop background behaviour. This process does not usually take extensive CPU or memory resources, but some users do report this problem.

Under normal circumstances, the Windows Shell Experience Host process should not use any CPU resources, only having small usage when graphical units are changed (after which, CPU usage returns to normal - usually, zero). Having 25% or higher CPU usage caused by this process is abnormal behaviour and indicates problems that need addressing.

As mentioned earlier, Windows Shell Experience Host is part of Microsoft Windows and a genuine process. In some cases, however, it could be a trojan using a very similar name to avoid raising suspicion. If it is not a virus, malware, or trojan, you can be reassured that it is legitimate process. You could try to kill the Windows Shell Experience Host process using Task Manager, but it will restart the next time Windows starts. There other ways to reduce high CPU or Memory usage caused by this process and these are detailed in the guide below.

windows shell experience host causing high cpu usage

Table of Contents:

Update Windows

First, check for Windows Updates and update Windows if there are any outstanding. When Windows 10 was first released, the problem of high CPU or Memory usage caused by the Windows Shell Experience Host process was very common. The problem became less common with each Windows Update released. To check for Windows Updates, type "check for updates" in Search and click the "Check for updates" result.

update windows step 1

You should be automatically directed to the Windows Update section. Click "Check for updates". Windows will start checking for updates. If there are updates available, install them. After updates are installed (if there were any to install), restart your computer and see if Windows Shell Experience Host is now behaving normally.

update windows step 2

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Run System Maintenance Troubleshooter

System Maintenance Troubleshooter is a Windows tool that automatically fixes any detected problems relating to maintenance tasks. It fixes broken shortcuts, disk volume errors, unused desktop icons, etc. To run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter, open the Run dialog box (by pressing the Windows key + R) and type "msdt.exe -id MaintenanceDiagnostic", and then press Enter to run it.

run system maintenance troubleshooter step 1

Before you start troubleshooting maintenance problems, bear in mind that you will need to use your administrator account to run System Maintenance Troubleshooter. In the System Maintenance window, click "Advanced", and then click "Run as administrator". Click "Next" and follow the instructions.

run system maintenance troubleshooter step 2

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Scan your System for Malware

As mentioned in our introduction, it is possible that Windows Shell Experience Host is not genuine and is actually a trojan or some other threat. If this is the case, scan your system using antivirus software. It is always a good idea to scan your system from time-to-time. You can use Windows Defender (a built-in antivirus program), which protects your computer against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Alternatively, you can run other third-party antivirus software if installed. To run a full system scan using Windows Defender, type "virus" in Search and click on the "Virus & threat protection" result.

scan your system for malware step 1

In the Virus & threat protection window, find and click the "Run a new advanced scan" option.

scan your system for malware step 2

You will see a list of advanced scans. We recommend that you choose the "Full scan" option, which will check all files and running programs on the hard disk but will take some time (usually more than an hour) to complete. To start a full scan, click "Scan now" when the "Full scan" option is selected.

scan your system for malware step 3

You can also choose a virus/malware scanner from our Top anti-malware list. The list consists of well-known top spyware removers and will help you choose the right software for your computer's protection. Find the list by clicking this link

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Use a Static Background

One of the most common reasons for high CPU or Memory usage caused by the Windows Shell Experience Host is a slideshow background. If you are not using a slideshow background, skip to the next step. If you are using the slideshow background, switch the background to static. Right-click on the desktop background and select "Personalize" from the contextual menu.

use static background step 1

Make sure that your background is set to the "Solid color" or "Picture" option.

use static background step 2

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Disable Automatic Color Pick

If the "Automatically pick an accent color for my background" option is enabled, this could be the reason why Windows Shell Experience Host is using higher CPU or Memory usage than normal. To ensure this option is disabled, right-click on the desktop background and select "Personalize" from the contextual menu. Then select the "Colors" section on the left pane and make sure that the "Automatically pick an accent color for my background" feature is disabled. Additional tip: also disable "Transparency effects". You can find this feature under "More options" in the Colors section.

disable automatic color pick

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Run System File Checker

If none of the methods mentioned above solve the problem, run the System File Checker. System File Checker is a Windows utility that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore them. If there are any corrupted driver files, this tool might fix the problem. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair missing or corrupted system files. The "sfc scannow" option is one of the several specific switches available with the sfc command, the Command Prompt command used to run System File Checker. You must run an elevated Command Prompt to perform a SFC scan. Open Command Prompt using administrative privileges by typing "command prompt" in Search, right-clicking the "Command Prompt" result and selecting the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

run system file checker step 1


Now type the "sfc /scannow" command. Press Enter on your keyboard to execute this command. System File Checker will start and should take some time to complete the scan (about 15 minutes). See if the Windows Shell Experience Host process CPU usage is now returns to normal.

run system file checker step 2

We hope that one of the methods above solve the problem and the Windows Shell Experience Host process is no longer using extensive CPU or Memory resources. If you know of other solutions to this problem, not mentioned in our guide, please share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

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Video Showing How To Fix High CPU Usage Caused By Windows Shell Experience Host Process:

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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