Explorer.exe high CPU usage in Windows 10 [STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE]

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Home » Fix » Explorer.exe high CPU usage in Windows 10 [STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE]

High CPU usage can be a problem, and many reported this issue with explorer.exe on Windows 10. This problem can significantly affect your performance, and in today’s article we’ll show you how to deal with it.

High CPU usage can be an annoying problem, and speaking of which, here are some similar issues that users reported:

  • Windows explorer hogging CPU Windows 10 – This issue can occur if your system is infected by malware. However, you should be able to fix the issue by performing a full system scan.
  • Windows 10 explorer high CPU utilization – This is a variation of the original error, and in most cases you can fix the problem simply by removing the problematic application from your PC.
  • Windows explorer constant CPU usage – Another common issue that can occur with Windows Explorer is a constant CPU usage. This can be caused by temporary files, so be sure to remove them.
  • Explorer.exe high CPU usage when moving mouse – This is a slightly unusual issue, but you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.

How can I fix explorer.exe high CPU usage on Windows 10?


  1. Check for malware
  2. Disable cloud storage clients
  3. Remove old and temporary files
  4. Check for unordinary desktop icons
  5. Install the latest updates
  6. Perform a Clean boot
  7. Clear the contents of the Temp folder
  8. Delete the audioses.dll
  9. Use chkdsk scan

Solution 1 – Check for malware

Windows explorer hogging CPU Windows 10

Sometimes explorer.exe high CPU usage can occur due to certain malware. A certain process can be running in the background without your knowledge, and that can cause high CPU usage on your PC.

If you’re having this issue on your PC, we advise you to perform a full system scan and check if that solves the problem. If your antivirus is unable to find the malware, or if you’re not using an antivirus at all, you might want to download and try Bitdefender.

This antivirus offers great protection against all sorts of malware, and it won’t impact your performance in any way, so be sure to try it out. Once you perform a full system scan, the issue should be resolved.


Perform a full system scan directly from Windows Defender. Find out how it’s done right here!


Solution 2 – Disable cloud storage clients

According to users, sometimes this issue can occur due to cloud storage services such as Dropbox or OneDrive. These services can sync files automatically in the background and that can cause explorer.exe high CPU usage to occur.

To fix the problem, users are recommending to disable OneDrive and uninstall Dropbox temporarily and see if that solves the problem. There are several ways to uninstall an application, but the most effective one is to use uninstaller software such as Revo Uninstaller.

Uninstaller software will remove all files and registry entries associated with the application you’re uninstalling, ensuring that there are no leftover files that can interfere with your system.

After you disable OneDrive and uninstall Dropbox, check if the problem is resolved.

If you need additional info on how to uninstall a program or an app in Windows 10, take a look at this useful guide.


Get rid of all the files associated with a program from your Windows 10 PC. Here’s how to remove software leftovers.


Solution 3 – Remove old and temporary files

If you’re having problems with explorer.exe high CPU usage, the problem might be caused by old and temporary files. Windows creates hundreds of temporary files, and sometimes these files can interfere with your system, so it’s advised to remove them.

The best way to do that is to use the Disk Cleanup application. To use it, just follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and type disk. Pick Disk Cleanup from the list of results.
    Windows 10 explorer high CPU utilization
  2. Make sure that your System drive, by default C, is selected and click OK.
    Windows explorer constant CPU usage
  3. Your PC will now scan the selected drive. This process usually takes a couple of seconds.
  4. Now you just have to select the files you want to remove and click OK. If you want, you can click the Clean system files button in order to remove additional files.
    Explorer.exe high CPU usage when moving mouse

After removing temporary files, check if the problem is still there. Disk Cleanup is a solid tool, but many users prefer using CCleaner over Disk Cleanup simply because CCleaner has some additional features available.

Unlike Disk Cleanup, CCleaner allows you to remove browsing history, clean your registry, and so much more, so if you want to be sure that temporary files aren’t interfering with your system, you might want to try it out.

Problems deleting all your junk files? Follow this guide to solve Disk Cleanup issues and save your drive.


Can’t get rid of the temporary files? After following these easy steps, you’ll delete them like a pro.


Solution 4 – Check for unordinary desktop icons

Sometimes explorer.exe high CPU usage can occur due to certain icons on your desktop. This is an unusual occurrence, but it can sometimes occur on your PC.

Apparently, the issue is caused by a file or a shortcut on your desktop that doesn’t have an icon.

For some reasons, these types of files cause issues such as high CPU usage with explorer.exe. However, to fix the problem, you just have to remove files/shortcuts without icons from the desktop and the problem will be resolved.


Solution 5 – Install the latest updates

If you’re having issues with explorer.exe high CPU usage on your PC, the problem might be the missing updates. Windows 10 is a solid operating system, but sometimes certain bugs can appear and cause high CPU issues.

However, you can fix this problem simply by installing the latest updates. Windows 10 usually installs the updates automatically, but you can always check for updates on your own by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Update & Security section. You can open the Settings app quickly by using Windows Key + I shortcut.
    Windows explorer hogging CPU Windows 10
  2. Now click Check for updates button.
    Windows 10 explorer high CPU utilization

Windows will check for available updates and download them automatically in the background. Once the updates are downloaded, restart your PC to install them. After your system is up to date, check if the problem is still there.

If you can’t open the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue quickly.


Having trouble updating your Windows? Check out this guide that will help you solve them in no time.


Solution 6 – Perform a Clean boot

According to users, sometimes explorer.exe high CPU usage can occur due to third-party applications on your PC. Many applications and services tend to start automatically with Windows, and that can cause this and many other problems to appear.

However, you can fix this issue simply by performing a Clean boot. In Clean boot state all startup applications and services should be disabled allowing you to troubleshoot the problem. To perform a Clean boot, you just need to do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + R. Now type msconfig and click OK or press Enter.
    Windows explorer hogging CPU Windows 10
  2. System Configuration window will appear. Go to the Services tab and check Hide all Microsoft services option. Now click the Disable all button.
    Windows 10 explorer high CPU utilization
  3. Head over to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
    Windows explorer constant CPU usage
  4. Task Manager will now appear with the list of startup applications. Right-click the first entry on the list and choose Disable from the menu. Perform this step until you disable all startup applications.
    Windows 10 explorer high CPU utilization
  5. After doing that, head back to the System Configuration window. Now click Apply and OK to save changes and restart your PC.
    Windows explorer constant CPU usage

Once your PC restarts, check if the problem is still there. If not, enable services and applications one by one until you manage to recreate the problem.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to restart your PC every time after you enable a group of services or applications.

Once you find the problematic application, remove it from your PC and the issue should be resolved. Users reported that the Acronis backup app caused the problem on their PC, but bear in mind that almost any other application can cause this issue.

If you want to know how to add or remove startup apps on Windows 10, check out this simple guide.


Can’t open Task Manager? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.


Solution 7 – Clear the contents of the Temp folder

According to users, explorer.exe high CPU usage can sometimes be caused by files in the Temp directory. To fix this issue, users are recommending to remove them manually and restart Windows Explorer.

This is quite simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to C:WindowsTemp directory.
  2. Delete all files inside of Temp folder.
  3. Now press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  4. Locate Windows Explorer, right-click it and choose Restart from the menu.
    Windows explorer hogging CPU Windows 10

After restarting Windows Explorer, the problem should be completely resolved.

If you want to delete the temporary files from Temp folder, you can do so by using Disk Cleanup. Check out this handy guide that will help you keep you PC clean.


Solution 8 – Delete the audioses.dll

If you’re having explorer.exe high CPU usage, the problem might be related to the audioses.dll file. According to users, this file can sometimes cause this and other problems to occur, and the only way to fix this issue is to remove this file.

To do that, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to C:WindowsSystem32 directory. Locate audioses.dll and move it to your Desktop.
    Windows explorer constant CPU usage
  2. Go to C:WindowsSysWOW64 directory and locate audioses.dll. Move this file to a different directory.

After doing that, the problem with high CPU usage should be resolved. This isn’t the most reliable solution, and modifying the contents of the Windows directory is usually not advised, so be sure to use extra caution.

If any new problems occur, restore these two files to their original locations.


Solution 9 – Use chkdsk scan

Sometimes explorer.exe high CPU usage problem can occur due to corrupted files on your PC. This can be a problem, but you can fix it simply by performing a chkdsk scan. This is fairly simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, just press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) from the menu.
    Explorer.exe high CPU usage when moving mouse
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter chkdsk /f :X and press Enter. Be sure to replace the X with the letter that represents your system drive. For most users, that would be C.
    Explorer.exe high CPU usage when moving mouse
  3. You’ll be asked to schedule a scan, so press Y to do so.

Once you restart your PC, the chkdsk scan will automatically start and try to repair your files. This process can take about 10 minutes, or even more depending on the size of your hard drive, so be patient.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.


chkdsk is giving you headaches? Check out this quick guide to fix any issues with it.


Once the scanning process is finished, check if the problem is still there.

Explorer.exe high CPU usage can be an annoying problem, but you should be able to fix it by using our solutions.

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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