Fix Windows Shell Experience Host process using too much memory/CPU

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 29, 2015

The Windows Shell Experience Host process may use quite a bit of memory or CPU when it is running.

To find out whether this is the case on your machine running Windows 10, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.

Click the "more details" link at the bottom left of it and locate the Windows Shell Experience Host process in the listing. You may click on name to sort the processes alphabetically which may make it easier to find it in the listing.

The process name is ShellExperienceHost.exe and on the right of it you will find its cpu and memory use.

Use may be normal, as was the case on the Windows 10 computer we tested this on, or too high. Too high means that you will see constant or higher than usual cpu and memory usage.

windows shell experience host

The description simply repeats the name of the process which is not helpful in finding out why it is running.

While the full functionality of the process is unclear right now, it is linked to the desktop background of the system, or more precisely, to the automatic color changing of interface elements based on the wallpaper's dominant color.

Users of Windows 10 who reported these issues managed to resolve them by turning off the automatic color changing based on the wallpaper. Note that the feature is enabled even if you only use a single wallpaper.

To resolve it, do the following

start color

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type Settings and hit enter.
  2. Navigate to Personalization > Colors.
  3. Turn off "Automatically pick an accent color from my background", and select a static color instead.

You should notice that cpu and memory go down after the change. There may be more to the process than just that but making the change fixed it on several systems that ran into the issue in the past.

Fix Windows Shell Experience Host process using too much memory/CPU
Article Name
Fix Windows Shell Experience Host process using too much memory/CPU
Find out what you can do if the Windows Shell Experience Host process uses too much memory or CPU on Windows 10.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Daniel Watkins said on July 24, 2020 at 3:31 am

    my shellexperiencehost.exe is using about 1.2GB of RAM on Windows 10! I guess i should reboot. It’s been a few thousand hours…

  2. Anonymous said on July 27, 2019 at 4:50 am

    This may be one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever read. The “Automatically pick an accent color from my background” option is not checked by default and it has NOTHING to do with the Windows Shell Experience Host.

  3. Anonymous said on January 28, 2017 at 3:26 am

    thank you it work!!!

  4. Anonymous said on January 4, 2017 at 3:19 am

    That sucked I didn’t have the option “Turn off “Automatically pick an accent color from my background”, and select a static color instead.”

  5. Nathan said on May 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I have to agree with some other replies; I already had this set to “off” and it’s still an issue for me. Definitely not a fix.

  6. V said on May 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    i think it not decreased my CPU usage. But thanks for the idea, it sounds reasonable

  7. ccole said on April 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    On that choose color screen, I found that the first 2 options were already off, so I tried turning off taskbar/start/AC transparency and then Windows Shell Experience Host usage went from 33% down to minimal… BTW, my problem started when I tried running and old Win95 program and under program properties switched things to 640×480 and forced 256-color mode. I think this interfered with Windows transparency somehow. Anyway, everything’s fine now :)… Thanks!…

  8. gordonsprings said on October 24, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    i have seen so much bad info about disabling or stopping things in Windows 10.. this one is the worst, mine is off to begin with.. people need to check there info before publishing these useless remarks.

    1. maccoon said on December 18, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      i agree. mine is off too, and i continue to have the problem with a crashing/refreshing desktop that many thousands of others are having with something that is hogging cpu usage. about to get rid of windows forever and go to linux. no one has a fix for this, least of all microsoft, and these armchair, know-nothing geeks.

  9. starboykb said on July 31, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I didn’t find these issue direct upgrade from the USB. But mine so far was Runtime Broker constantly using CPU between 20-30%. I read that it was related to bad App leakage. Any idea?

  10. ilev said on July 30, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Fix Error 80240020 When Installing Windows 10 Free Upgrade

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