What is Runtime Broker, and why it is causing high CPU load?

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 6, 2017
Updated • Apr 5, 2017

Microsoft introduced the Runtime Broker process (RuntimeBroker.exe) in Windows 8, and kept on using it in Windows 10 as well.

Runtime Broker is a legitimate Windows process, but one with quite a bad reputation for increasing CPU load and memory usage on systems sporadically.

If you monitor the Windows Task Manager, by loading it with Ctrl-Shift-Esc for instance, or if you use a more advanced process monitor like Process Explorer, you may have noticed already that Runtime Broker is not active all the time.

If you watch more closely, you may notice that it is linked somehow to Universal Windows Apps (those installed from Windows Store, that came with the operating system, and sideloaded apps).

The following guide offers information on the process, and tips on how to resolve the high CPU load that it causes sometimes.

Runtime Broker information

runtime broker process

You will find Runtime Broker listed under processes, and under details when you open the Windows Task Manager on Windows 10.

Note that the Windows 10 Task Manager separates processes into apps and background processes. Depending on the status of Runtime Broker, you may find it listed under either one there.  For a clearer picture, switch to details and locate it there.

Since Runtime Broker is linked to Universal Windows Apps, you will notice that it becomes active whenever you start one of these applications on your device.

To provide you with a little bit more detail: The main task of Runtime Broker is to check if these applications have declared all the required permissions, and to inform you about it.

So, it acts as a security middleman between the app and your data and hardware on the device.

Runtime Broker causing high CPU load

Reports started to come up as early as 2015 that Runtime Broker was causing high CPU loads on Windows 10, and as early as 2012 that it was using a lot of memory on Windows 8.

It may also use a lot of memory, especially if a faulty app is the root cause of the issue:

Runtime Broker is a Windows process in Task Manager that helps manage permissions on your PC for apps from Windows Store. It should only use a few megabytes of memory, but in some cases, a faulty app might cause Runtime Broker to use up to a gigabyte of RAM or more.

Quick temporary Fix

end task runtime broker

Microsoft suggests to kill the Runtime Broker Process if it uses more than 15% of memory.

If your RAM use is high and your PC is running slowly, an app may be the cause of the problem. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager and then, on the Processes tab, check to see how much memory Runtime Broker is using. If it’s using more than 15% of your memory, you probably have an issue with an app on your PC. To stop Runtime Broker from using so much memory, select Runtime Broker in the list, select End task to close Runtime Broker, and then restart your computer.

  1. Use Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Right-click on Runtime Broker in the processes list.
  3. Select End Task from the context menu that opens up.
  4. Restart the PC.

This is only a temporary solution, as Runtime Broker will launch again the next time a Universal Windows Application is started.

Fix 2: Disable get tips, tricks and suggestions

runtime broker fix

Any feature of Windows 10 that is powered by a Universal Windows Application, leads to the execution of the Runtime Broker process.

This explains why you may see the process thrashing the hard drive, causing high CPU load, or high memory usage, even though no Windows application was started at the time.

One common fix is to disable the application that is responsible for displaying tips and suggestions to Windows users.

  1. Use Ctrl-I to open the Settings application on Windows 10.
  2. Switch to System > Notifications & Actions.
  3. Locate "Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows", and switch the preference to off.

Fix 3: A misbehaving application

If you notice that the high load, memory or disk use of Runtime Broker is caused by a particular application, you may do the following:

  1. If the app is not essential, uninstall it and be done with the issue.
  2. If the app is essential, check for updates. If an update is available download and install it to see if it resolves the issue.
  3. If that is not the case, try uninstalling the app, and installing it again after a PC restart.

Fix 4: Limit the number of apps that can run in the background

windows background apps

Some applications may run in the background. This means that they will continue to run even if they are not in the foreground.

You may control the behavior in the following way:

  1. Use Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Go to Privacy > Background Apps.

Toggle any application that you don't want to run in the background to off. This may remove functionality such as the application's ability to send notifications or stay up to date.

Other fixes

windows 10 updates

If you search the Internet for fixes for Runtime Broker issues, you will end up with dozens of suggestions on resolving the issue.

  1. Change the local screen background from using Windows Spotlight (which changes background images frequently) to Picture. You do so in the Settings application under Personalization > Lock Screen.
  2. Disable P2P update functionality under Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered. Turn the option to off there.

Basically, anything else that runs as an application may cause the issue.

Check if Runtime Broker is a virus

runtime broker virus check

Last but not least, you may also want to check whether Runtime Broker is a legitimate Windows process, or if it is a virus.

The easiest option to find out is to check if RuntimeBroker.exe is located in c:\windows\system32\.

  1. Use Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Locate the Runtime Broker process there under processes.
  3. Right-click on the process, and select the "open file location" menu item.

This opens the location on the computer the process has been started from. Anything but c:\windows\system32\

If it is, go to Virustotal and upload the rogue file there to have it checked.

What is Runtime Broker, and why it is causing high CPU load?
Article Name
What is Runtime Broker, and why it is causing high CPU load?
The following guide helps you analyze the Runtime Broker process in Windows, and find out why it is causing high CPU, memory or disk use.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


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