What is Windows Shell Experience Host and why is it so important? If you noticed your computer being unusually sluggish, one possible reason is that ShellExperienceHost.exe is misbehaving.
Note: Junk files and system files conflict frequently, resulting in issues with Windows Shell Experience Host and CPU usage. The easiest way to fix this is to scan your computer with a trusted PC optimization tool like PC Repair software.Quick fix instructionsStep 1: Download Installation fileStep 2: Install PC Repair and scan your PCStep 3: Click “Repair” to fix all items that may cause the issue
When there is a Windows Shell Experience Host high CPU consumption, you’ll encounter various performance issues. They can include slow speeds, frequent app crashes, system errors, and weird behaviors.
The same thing can be observed when other processes, like lockapp.exe or YourPhone.exe, freeze or use up too much GPU. Whenever a Windows process takes up too much computer resources, the computer’s performance also suffers.
- 0.1 What Is the Windows Shell Experience Host?
- 0.2 Why Is Windows Shell Experience Host CPU Usage So High?
- 1 What is Windows Shell Experience Host? Why is It using High Memory
- 1.1 Windows Shell Experience Host Process
- 1.2 Fixing the Windows Shell Experience Host process if it is using high memory
- 1.3 Conclusion
- 1.4 How to Fix High Windows Shell Experience Host CPU Usage
- 1.5 Is the Windows Shell Experience Host a Virus?
- 1.6 Windows Shell Experience Host FAQ
- 1.7 What Is Windows Shell Experience Host?
- 1.8 Why Is Windows Shell Experience Host Showing High CPU Usage?
- 1.9 How to Resolve the “Windows Shell Experience Host Suspended or Stopped” Issue
- 1.10 Disable Slideshow Background
- 1.11 Here’s how to limit the CPU usage for ShellExperienceHost.exe:
What Is the Windows Shell Experience Host?
The Windows Shell Experience Host, also referred to as ShellExperienceHost.exe, is a core component of the Windows operating system. So, you should not be surprised to see it running in the background.
Now, if you see it consuming too much CPU resources, don’t be quick to kill the process. It will cause more problems than you are currently experiencing.
The Windows Shell Experience Host was first released in Windows 10 as an integral part of the Windows operating system. The function of the Windows Shell Experience Host is to give a windowed interface for various universal apps on your computer.
Basically, it manages the graphical components of your PC, including the start menu, taskbar transparency, clock, visuals, background slideshow, and calendar, among others.
ShellExperienceHost.exe Basic Information
When it was first released, the Windows Shell Experience Host hogged a lot of CPU and memory on Window 10. However, with Windows continuously working to improve the latest OS, Windows Shell Experience Host no longer consumes too much CPU and RAM. So, if you discovered a spike in CPU or memory usage that is associated with Windows Shell Experience Host, this means some problems have occurred on your computer.
Here is some information to help you understand what the ShellExperienceHost.exe is:
- Developer: Microsoft Corporation
- Programs: Microsoft Windows Operating System or Application Frame Host
- Executable file/process: ShellExperienceHost.exe
- Operating system: Windows 10
- Folder location: subfolder of C:\Windows, such as
- Known file size: 2,095,968 bytes
Why Is Windows Shell Experience Host CPU Usage So High?
Under normal circumstances, Windows Shell Experience Host should not consume any of your CPU or RAM resources. You’ll only notice occasional spikes up to less than 10% when some of your graphical elements are changed. It should normally settle back down to zero after some time.
The ShellExperienceHost.exe process also typically consumes about 100-200 MB of RAM. You will find that this number also goes up occasionally, only to settle back down right away.
That is the normal usage of the Windows Shell Experience Host. On the other hand, if you see the ShellExperienceHost.exe process regularly eating more CPU or memory than normal, then you’ve got some issues you need to solve.
Some Windows users see a consistent 30% up to 50%, sometimes as high as 68% CPU usage, or more than several hundreds MB of memory use, then you need to figure out what is wrong.
One of the most common reasons is that your operating system is outdated and you’re using the earlier version of this software. We have mentioned earlier that the older version of Windows Shell Experience Host consumes a lot of resources, so you need to update it.
Using slideshow backgrounds also contributes to the Windows Shell Experience Host high CPU usage. This is because your computer has to keep up with the frequent visual changes, which can be taxing for the ShellExperienceHost.exe process.
Sometimes users also suffer from Microsoft Photos high CPU usage – be assured these system programs should not work in this way and these issues can be easily fixed.
CPU Usage Check
So, if you come across any of these problems, one of the things you need to check immediately is Task Manager.
Right-click on any empty part of the Taskbar, then choose Task Manager from the list (or you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del then select Task Manager from the options).
The Task Manager window will open to the Processes tab, where you can see the processes and services currently running on your computer.
If you see that the Windows Shell Experience Host CPU usage is unusually high, check out the troubleshooting steps below to fix it.
What is Windows Shell Experience Host? Why is It using High Memory
Windows Shell Experience Host Process
Windows Shell Experience Host works as a type of visual manager because it is a part of the operating system. As we know that it provides a windowed interface for all universal apps on your PC. For more accurate results, this windows process is responsible for graphical components like background slideshow, start menu and taskbar transparency, calendar, clock, calendar, and visuals.
The reason behind excessive usage CPU
The regular operations of Windows Shell Experience Host consume lots of memory of the CPU. The process works under 100 to 200 MB of memory usage. The primary reason for this is that it works on the graphical components, and by changing the graphical elements, it results in high memory consumption. If you analyze the consumption, then you will see that the previous version was using high memory as compared to a newer version.
Disable the Windows Shell Experience Host process
You should never disable the Windows Shell Experience Host because disabling it can result in fewer visuals of the Windows. In case you want to end the process, then your operating system will restart it automatically. However, if the Windows Shell Experience Host starts to consume your CPU and RAM, then you can troubleshoot the issues for resolving it.
Fixing the Windows Shell Experience Host process if it is using high memory
You can do the process easily because Troubleshooting the Windows Shell Experience Host process is not rocket science, so just follow simple steps below and settle your RAM/CPU usage to an appropriate level:
1. Updating your OS (Operating System)
For appropriate function, you need to update your Windows 10 regularly. Otherwise, your operating system will become sluggish, prone to error and buggy. For fixing the high memory/CPU, you have to update your windows as per the updates from Microsoft’s software technology without any delay. So the process of updating the windows is:
- First, you have to click on the Windows icon on your Taskbar for opening the start menu.
- You will be redirected to the Windows Update screen. You have to check for any updates available. If yes, agree to install them.
- In case there are no suggested updates on the Windows Update screen, click the Check for updates button.
Now you have to go to the Task Manager and see how the Windows Shell Experience Host is using the RAM or CPU.
First, you have to disable the desktop background slideshow on PC
You may enjoy the fantastic and favourite wallpapers changing every minute. This setting may lead to Windows Shell Experience Host taking too much memory from your RAM or CPU. So you should use static wallpaper through:
- Press the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
- Select the Personalization option.
- Select background from the left pane
- Choose a picture from the drop-down menu.
- Confirm your choice to save the settings.
You have to check if the trick above has fixed your high CPU/RAM usage issue.
2. Disable the feature of automatic colour changing
It is another feature which needs to be disabled if you want to stop Windows Shell Experience Host eating into your CPU, and memory is an automatic colour changing. For disabling it, follow the guidance below:
- Open your setting window by pressing the Windows logo key + I shortcut on your keyboard.
- Now choose Colors in the left pane.
- Scroll down to select a colour section.
- Select the automatically pick option for an accent colour from my background option and uncheck it.
- Make sure that you save the changes appropriately
3. Run System File Checker
In case Windows Shell Experience Host keeps consuming your resources, then the corrupt system can be the reason behind it. You have to run built-in System File Checker service for replacing them in Windows 10
- You have to use the Windows logo + S keyboard shortcut to initiate Search.
- Type cmd in the Search area.
- Find the cmd command in the result list.
- Right-click on it and choose Run as administrator for opening an advanced command prompt.
- Now type SFC and click on Enter to start the command.
- Wait for the scan to finish because it takes some time.
- Click on the all-clear for proceeding and exit your elevated Command Prompt window.
- At last restart your PC. The problematic system files will be detected and resolved now.
4. Limit the Usage of CPU
In this type of situation, we recommend you to limit the usage of CPU manually. Here is how you can do that:
- First, you have to go to search and type task manager
- Now select Task Manager from the search results list.
- Navigate to the Details tab in the Task Manager
- You have to locate Windows Shell Experience Host and then right-click on it
- Choose the Set affinity option.
- Choose the CPU limit as per the requirement of the Windows Shell Experience Host.
After successfully configuring your settings, you will see positive changes in consumption.
5. Fix registry issue of your PC
Determined high CPU/RAM usage issues often originate from problems with Windows Registry. Therefore it is an excellent option to fix this system component appropriately. You have to understand that it can be a risky process because a tiny mistake can result in the failure to boot up the window. We advise you to edit your registry manually. For example, Auslogics Registry Cleaner is a free tool which can fix your registry through surgical precision so risks can be removed.
6. Check the malware in your pc
If the above methods didn’t work or deliver the desired results, then you should scan for the malware in your pc. The primary reason can be masquerading as windows shell experience host and disrupting your system in the background. So you have to use a full anti-malware scan of your operating system. Apart from it, you can use the built-in Windows defender security suite:
- Start your settings and choose Update & security.
- Click on the windows defender then select open windows defender.
- Go to the shield icon in the left pane.
- Click advanced scan and select a full scan.
In case any malware is present, then you will be notified, and it will allow you to deal with them, so you have to choose an appropriate option under the current circumstances.
In this article, we have provided complete information regarding Windows Shell Experience Host. You can understand every aspect to handle this process without having any issues. Sometimes bugs and glitches occur by Windows Shell Experience Host, but our ideas can help you to remove them quickly. You can improve the CPU and boost up the speed of your PC through the above ways. In case you have any query and Idea regarding the issue regarding this particular article, then you can comment down below.
How to Fix High Windows Shell Experience Host CPU Usage
First, you need to perform a scan to check for any threats that might be causing the problem. However, if you didn’t find any malware after scanning your computer, then it is possible that the high CPU and RAM consumption is caused by other factors.
Solution #1: Update Windows
When you encounter this problem, the first thing you need to do is to check if there are any outstanding updates you need to install. When Windows Shell Experience Host was first introduced with Windows 10, it was known to consume a lot of computer resources. But with each Windows update released, the issue became less common.
To check if there are any pending updates, follow the steps below:
- Click Start, then choose Settings.
- Scroll down and click Update & Security.
- Click on Windows Update.
- Click the Check for updates button.
- If you see any available updates, click the Download and install link.
Just to be safe, you should set Windows Update to automatically download any updates as soon as they become available.
Solution #2: Turn Off the ‘Automatically Pick an Accent Color from my Background’ Option
If you’re using a slideshow as your background, you need to disable the automated accent colors option.
Every time the background changes, your system automatically chooses a new accent color to use. It causes more work for the ShellExperienceHost.exe process.
To switch off automatic accent colors on your computer, do the following:
- Click on the Start menu, then choose Settings. Alternatively, you can also press Win + I to get to the same destination.
- Click on Personalization > Colors.
- Scroll down to the Choose your accent color section and uncheck Automatically pick an accent color from my background.
- Close the windows and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Solution #3: Change Your Background
If you are fine with changing your background, then you should do so when you encounter this problem. To change your background, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Settings using the instructions above.
- Click Personalization > Background.
- On the left panel, choose a different type under the Background dropdown.
- You can choose either Picture or Solid color instead.
P.S. You might encounter a Windows Explorer running slow issue because the Windows Shell Experience Host or ShellExperienceHost.exe is causing havoc on your computer.
Is the Windows Shell Experience Host a Virus?
Since this process is consuming a lot of resources and behaving suspiciously, you might be thinking that it is malicious. And you have every right to be alarmed. It is possible that a malicious software has infected your computer and is posing as the ShellExperienceHost.exe process. So, if you get a malware warning from your antivirus while you see two ShellExperienceHost.exe processes operating in the background, then you’ve probably got malware.
The easiest method to get rid of a malicious ShellExperienceHost.exe process is by using an antivirus software. It is able to root out even the smallest threats. Simply scan your system and delete any threats detected by your security software.
To be sure that no threats are lurking on your computer, regularly clear out your junk files and optimize your computer using Outbyte PC Repair. This tool not only helps you recover some precious storage space, but it also helps prevent future system issues.
However, in most instances, an outdated OS or some graphical interface issues cause a misbehavior of the ShellExperienceHost.exe process. If this is the case, you can easily resolve the problem by following the solutions above.
Windows Shell Experience Host FAQ
What Is Windows Shell Experience Host?
The Windows Shell Experience Host is a core component of the Windows operating system that runs in the background to ensure certain Windows applications function properly. It gives a windowed interface to universal apps on the computer. Basically, the Windows Shell Experience Host manages the PC’s graphical components, including the start menu, taskbar transparency, clock, visuals, background slideshow, and calendar.Is ShellExperienceHost.exe a Virus?
ShellExperienceHost.exe is the executable file that runs the Windows Shell Experience Host on your PC. It is not a virus, but a legitimate application developed and distributed by Microsoft Corporation. To check if the ShellExperienceHost.exe on your PC is the real thing, check its location. If the application is not located in the subfolder of C:\Windows, you may need to scrutinize it further.Why is ShellExperienceHost.exe Showing High CPU usage?
ShellExperienceHost.exe is designed to use minimal computer resources, RSM/CPU, usually ranging in the rate of 10% or less or 100-200 MBs of RAM. High CPU usage can occur when your operating system needs an update or when you are using an older version of Windows Shell Experience Host on a new operating system.What to Do If Windows Shell Experience Host is showing High CPU Usage
If you notice Windows Shell Experience Host showing CPU Usage, you may need to scan your PC for malware. If, after scanning the PC, it still shows high CPU usage, you may update your Windows. Ensure that you’re using a new version of the application that has no issues. Alternatively, you can change your PC’s background or turn off the ‘Automatically Pick an Accent Color from my Background’ option on your PC
What Is Windows Shell Experience Host?
The Windows Shell Experience Host is also known as ShellExperienceHost.exe. It is the Windows component responsible for the windowed display feature of universal Windows applications. It is the component of the Windows shell (basically, the graphical user interface on Windows) that specifically handles universal apps.
The Windows Shell Experience Host process handles universal app interface behavior with respect to elements like the taskbar, Start Menu transparency, calendar, clock, background behavior, etc. The process made its debut in the OS with the launch of Windows 10. Over the years, it has been tweaked and refined with each new build of Windows 10, but its core functions remain the same.
Normally, you won’t even notice the existence of the Windows Shell Experience Host. This is because it is not designed to be noticed. It typically consumes little to no CPU resources. Certainly, it normally doesn’t use anywhere near the amount of processor resources being reported by annoyed users lately.
Why Is Windows Shell Experience Host Showing High CPU Usage?
If the ShellExperienceHost.exe process has been using way more CPU resources than it should, you will be wondering why this is the case. After all, it is supposed to be one of the least power-hungry system processes around.
There are several reasons why the CPU usage of ShellExperienceHost.exe has spiked (if it has). Perhaps, you set your PC’s background to use a slideshow or use a slideshow creator app to change your desktop background at regular intervals. If you monitor the Shell Experience Host process in Task Manager, you may notice sudden jumps in memory and CPU usage whenever a desktop element changes.
Although, this shouldn’t be enough to make the process consistently use above the expected processor usage rate.
There is another, often overlooked, potential reason for ShellExperienceHost.exe’s spike in CPU usage: it is not the real Shell Experience Host process. It is possible to mistake a rogue executable for the real ShellExperienceHost.exe. For example, online criminals have been known to use the trojan miners ShellExperienceHost.exe & MicrosoftShellHost.exe to mine for the Monero cryptocurrency using victims’ CPUs.
An easy way to find out whether the ShellExperienceHost.exe exhibiting high CPU usage is fake or real is to find its location. Below is the location of the genuine process:
Right-click the process in Task Manager and select Open File Location from the context menu. If Windows Explorer opens to the location above, you can rest easy as the executable isn’t malicious.
How to Resolve the “Windows Shell Experience Host Suspended or Stopped” Issue
Even if the ShellExperienceHost.exe in Task Manager is the genuine process, it can still cause your PC to become sluggish because it uses too much CPU power. Check out the methods below that many people have successfully used to fix the bug with this process.
Update the Operating System
Being on the latest version of Windows can help to solve many bugs and glitches found in earlier versions. So, make sure that you have installed all available OS updates. Some minor updates contain bug fixes and patches for system errors like ShellExperienceHost.exe high CPU usage issue.
Here’s how to check for updates for your OS:
- Right-click the Start Menu icon and select Settings to launch the Settings app.
- On the main Settings screen, select Update & Security.
- On the Update & Security screen, switch to the Windows Update tab and click the “Check for updates” button.
- The OS will check the Windows Update servers and download any available updates.
When the updates have been downloaded, you can reboot your system now to start installing them or schedule the reboot for later.
Hopefully, with the latest OS installed, ShellExperienceHost.exe and other system processes will no longer use more than the expected percentage of CPU.
Turn Off Automated Accent Colors
The ShellExperienceHost.exe process is responsible for making visual changes to your desktop and its background. The more changes take place on the desktop, the more the process has to work and the more CPU it uses. This may be the cause of the high CPU usage for ShellExperienceHost.exe on PCs whose desktop background is a slideshow.
Since the background changes every few minutes, the Shell Experience Host is regularly called upon. In addition, your PC picks a new accent color to match the new background image, by default. This gives the process even more work to do.
To lessen the CPU consumption of ShellExperienceHost.exe, you can try turning off automatic accent colors. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click the Start Menu icon and select Settings to launch the Settings app.
- On the main Settings screen, select Personalization.
- On the Personalization screen, switch to the Colors tab.
- Scroll down the Colors tab to the “Choose your accent color” section.
- Untick the “Automatically pick an accent color from my background” checkbox.
Exit the Settings app and check the CPU usage of ShellExperienceHost.exe in Task Manager after a few minutes. If the Shell Experience Host process now uses a moderate to low percentage of CPU, your issue has been fixed.
However, if the CPU usage by ShellExperienceHost.exe keeps jumping, try the next solution.
Disable Slideshow Background
If turning off automatic accent colors doesn’t help, changing your background style altogether may yield a better result. You can switch the slideshow style for a solid color or choose a static picture instead. Since either alternative is fixed, the Shell Experience Host will have less work to do and this can stop the high CPU usage.
- Right-click the Start Menu icon and select Settings to launch the Settings app.
- On the main Settings screen, select Personalization.
- On the Personalization screen, stay on the Background tab.
- Click the downward arrow button under the Background section in the right pane,
- Select Solid Color or Picture.
Like before, exit the Settings app and check the CPU usage of ShellExperienceHost.exe in Task Manager after a few minutes. If the Shell Experience Host process now uses a moderate to low percentage of CPU, your issue has been fixed.
Run an SFC Scan
You can run a System File Checker scan in a command line window to resolve the issue of ShellExperienceHost.exe high CPU usage if the methods above haven’t helped.
The SFC utility is built into Windows and can be used to repair system files. Since the Shell Experience Host is a system component, the usage jumps could be a result of problems with related system files.
Hence, you can use the SFC tool to find and fix system file errors if needed. Follow the steps below to do so.
- Right-click the Start Menu and select Control Panel (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin). Which option you see depends on your build of Windows 10.
- In the command line window, type “sfc /scannow” and hit the Enter key to begin the scan.
- When the scan is done (this can take up to an hour on older systems), reboot the machine.
The SFC tool is pretty good at finding and fixing corrupt system files. However, if this solution doesn’t stop ShellExperienceHost.exe from displaying usage jump, there are still a few possible fixes you can try.
Set CPU Usage Limit for ShellExperienceHost.exe
The Task Manager in Windows 10 is much more than a simple process overview table. You can use it to perform specialized tweaks such as setting CPU usage limits for processes that tend to consume a lot of processor power.
So, if other methods have failed to stop the Shell Experience Host from slowing down the system through abnormal CPU usage, this method is an option.
When you limit a process’ CPU usage, it won’t be able to use more than the percentage of processor power you have stipulated for it. This will free up processor power for other programs that need it.
Here’s how to limit the CPU usage for ShellExperienceHost.exe:
- Open Task Manager. Right-click the Start Menu and select Task Manager.
- Click the Details tab.
- Scroll down the list to the ShellExperienceHost.exe process.
- Right-click the process and select Set Affinity.
- Under “Which processors are allowed to run ShellExperienceHost.exe?”, set your processor affinity.
The Shell Experience Host process doesn’t really do any intensive tasks and the CPU power it needs it modest at best. Hence, you can easily set affinity to one or two processor cores without causing any issues.
Run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter (Windows 7 Users)
The System Maintenance Troubleshooter can help users on Windows 7 to stop the Shell Experience Host process from consuming too much CPU. If you’re on this version of Windows, the steps below will help you start the troubleshooter.
- Type “control panel” in Search and click the applet.
- Change the View By mode in Control Panel to Small Icons.
- Select Troubleshooting.
- Click the “View maintenance tasks” link under System and Security.
- In the System Maintenance window, click the Next button.
- On the next screen, select “Try troubleshooting as an administrator”.
The tool will attempt to resolve any discovered issues. When the troubleshooter has completed its job, click the Close button and check whether ShellExperienceHost.exe’s CPU usage is back to normal.
Use a PC Optimizer
Windows is essentially a collection of programs and processes that run in the background. It is no big surprise that some of these programs conflict with one another on occasion. Unfortunately, some processes are very important to how Windows works. If a third-party program is in conflict with a system component like ShellExperienceHost.exe, it can result in various issues for the machine.
The bad news is that you can’t always stop conflicts between native programs and installed third-party programs. The good news is that a tool like Auslogics BoostSpeed is available to help you resolve conflicts between files and programs on your PC. You can use it to resolve system issues, boost PC performance, tweak memory allocation, and make lots of other computer-enhancing changes.
Boot Windows in a Clean Environment
To manually find out whether any programs are conflicting with the Shell Experience Host process, you can boot Windows in a clean environment and check whether the CPU usage of ShellExperienceHost.exe becomes stable.
A clean boot disables third-party drivers and startup items and boots Windows mostly with Microsoft services and startups. This helps you to safely troubleshoot your issues without the risk that a third-party app will interfere.
To clean-boot Windows, follow these steps:
- Press Win Key+R to open the Run box.
- Type “msconfig” and click OK.
- In the System Configuration dialog, make sure the General tab is selected.
- Under Startup Selection, choose Selective Startup.
- Make sure the boxes next to “Load system services” and “Use original boot configuration” are ticked.
- Untick the “Load startup items” checkbox.
- Switch to the Services tab and tick the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox.
- Click the Disable All button near the bottom right to disable all third-party services.
- Click the Apply button, then click the OK button, to save the changes.
Restart the computer. It will boot into a Clean environment.
Check how ShellExperienceHost.exe behaves in clean boot. If the CPU usage is minimal, one of the disabled services, drivers or startup items might be conflicting with the Shell Experience Host process.
You can try to narrow down the conflicting third-party item. Return to System Configuration and enable half of the disabled services and reboot the machine. Keep doing this until you’ve found the driver, startup item or service causing the spike on CPU usage by ShellExperienceHost.exe.
Alternatively, if you believe that a corrupt driver could be the issue, you can update all your system drivers. Doing this will eliminate all outdated and corrupt drivers in one stroke. Moreover, it may be hard to figure out which specific driver might be related to the bug; hence, a batch 4driver update can save you time.
Windows can only update drivers individually through Device Manager. Windows Update only includes drivers for major hardware, and only with major updates. Meanwhile, going to the website of your hardware manufacturer to manually download and install every driver is simply inefficient.
Your best bet is to turn to a third-party program like Auslogics Driver Updater that will find all the drivers you need and install them for you at a click of a button.
After updating your drivers, verify that the ShellExperienceHost.exe high CPU usage bug has been resolved.
Additional Tip: Restart the ShellExperienceHost.exe Process
First, a word of caution: The Shell Experience Host process is a critical component of Windows. Hence, you should never attempt to delete or disable it. Unless, that is, you’re okay with using your PC through a command line window 100% of the time.
However, you can temporarily end ShellExperienceHost.exe to stop the spike in CPU usage. Windows will restart the process in a few moments so there’s no need to worry.
Open Task Manager and navigate to the ShellExperienceHost.exe process. Right-click the process and select End Task.
Your PC’s desktop will likely go blank. Wait for a few moments and the UI elements will reappear.
We hope that this article has been of help in fixing the ShellExperienceHost.exe high CPU usage issue for you. You can tell us about the solution that worked for you in the comments.