What is Windows Shell Experience Host?

If you check your Task Manager, you’ll notice many programs running in the background, including the Windows Shell Experience Host.

What is Windows Shell Experience Host

It will appear as ShellExperienceHost.exe, and you may even mistake it for an intruder in your PC. In some cases, Windows Shell Experience Host may start using high CPU resources on your PC.

So, what if you don’t know what ShellExperienceHost.exe is? Here is an explanation.

What is ShellExperienceHost.exe?

ShellExperienceHost.exe is the file executable that runs Windows Shell Experience Host, which is a key component of the Windows Operating system. It is a genuine program developed and distributed by Microsoft, and it comes preinstalled with Windows 10 OS.

It was first released in Windows 10 and has since been developed and improved in function and structure with the subsequent Windows 10 updates.

ShellExperienceHost.exe usually runs in the background while performing its functions, and you’ll only notice it when you open the Task Manager or Windows services.

Read more about Windows Shell Interface

What does Windows Shell Experience Host do?

The Windows Shell Experience Host is responsible for giving universal apps on your PC a windowed interface. This means that it presents the universal apps within the Window that allows you to view or use them.

In addition, it basically manages the graphical elements or components of the interface, including the clock, start menu, calendar, taskbar transparency, visuals, and notification bar, among others.

Windows Shell Experience Host even controls some desktop background behavior elements, such as changing the background slideshow.

Is ShellExperienceHost.exe Process a Virus?

ShellExperienceHost.exe is not a virus but a legitimate Windows 10 OS application. It runs the Windows Shell Experience Host, which helps to integrate universal apps with the Windows Shell. As such, it is a known process working in the background and is not considered harmful.

However, the .exe extension on the filename indicates that it is an executable file. Sometimes, executable files may harm your PC.

Besides, executable files are vulnerable to imitations by virus or malware strains or infection by the viruses or malware.

Why is Windows Shell Experience Host showing High CPU usage?

Under normal function and operations, Windows Shell Experience Host doesn’t consume PC CPU with a memory use of between 100 to 200MBs. But you may occasionally see its CPU usage spiking up to a percentage, not more than 10%, and an increase in memory consumption.

This spike in CPU usually occurs when the PC’s graphical elements are changed. After a short while, Windows Shell Experience Host’s CPU usage will settle back down to zero.

Suppose you see the ShellExperienceHost.exe process regularly consuming more CPU or memory of up to 25-30% or more CPU or several hundreds of MBs of memory use, then there is an underlying problem.

This usually happens when your Windows OS needs an update, especially when you’re using an outdated version. Older Windows versions can make Shell Experience Host consume a lot of PC resources. Besides, using slideshow backgrounds or other active backgrounds that constantly change can also make Windows Shell Experience Host use high CPU resources.

On rare occasions, malware or virus attack have caused the Windows Shell Experience Host use high CPU. Malware can make the Shell Experience Host hog the CPU and use up more PC resources.

This case is similar to the scenario when file explorer start running slowly, affected by specific applications that consume much system resources.

How Can I Fix Windows Shell Experience Host High CPU Usage?

To fix Shell Experience Host high CPU usage, you first need to understand what is causing it. Depending on what causes it, here is a summary of the solutions:

  • Updated your Windows Operating System
  • Turn Off or uncheck the ‘Automatically Pick an Accent Color from my Background’ Option
Turn off automatically pick an accent color
  • Change your background and remove the more active slide show background
  • Run SFC and DISM Windows utility tools
DISM Windows application

Note: for more information on how to fix Windows Shell Experience Host high CPU usage read this article.


If you have never seen the ShellExperienceHost.exe process on your Task Manager, it may surprise you. Unless it is using a high CPU on your system, Windows Shell Experience Host is a safe process, and you don’t need to worry about it.


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