What is Windows Shell Experience Host? Issue with High CPU

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 a rogue process, such as the Windows Shell Experience Host or ShellExperienceHost.exe, is misbehaving in the background.

When there is a Windows Shell Experience Host high CPU consumption, you’ll encounter various performance issues, such as slow speeds, frequent app crashes, system errors, and weird behaviors.

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 + Delete 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 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 because it will cause more problems than you are currently experiencing.

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.

Download PC Repair

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.

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 or Windows Shell Experience Host process 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 C:\Windows\SystemApps\ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\
  • 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, but it should quickly settle back down to zero after some time.

The ShellExperienceHost.exe process also typically consumes about 100-200 MB of RAM, and you’ll 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 to fix this issue.

Using slideshow backgrounds or other types of background that constantly changes 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.

How to Fix High Windows Shell Experience Host CPU Usage

First, 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 of the ShellExperienceHost.exe process is caused by other factors.

Here are some solutions you can try to fix this problem:

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 wasn’t perfect and 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:

  1. Click Start, then choose Settings.
  2. Scroll down and click Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.
  5. If you see any available updates, click the Download and install link.
Check for Windows Updates

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, causing more work for the Windows Shell Experience Host or ShellExperienceHost.exe process.

To switch off automatic accent colors on your computer, do the following:

  1. Click on the Start menu, then choose Settings. Alternatively, you can also press Windows + I to get to the same destination.
  2. Click on Personalization > Colors.
  3. Scroll down to the Choose your accent color section and uncheck Automatically pick an accent color from my background.
Automatically pick an accent color from my background
  1. 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:

  1. Navigate to Settings using the instructions above.
  2. Click Personalization > Background.
  3. On the left panel, choose a different type under the Background dropdown.
  4. You can choose either Picture or Solid color instead.
Change Your Background in Windows