How to fix Microsoft.Photos.exe high memory usage

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Microsoft Photos is the default Windows application which allows you to do basic edits and apply filters.
  • If your Photos app starts using too much memory, it might be time for a change. We recommend Adobe Lightroom as a replacement.
  • We have an entire page dedicated to the Fixing the Photos app, so if you're experiencing problems, check it out and bookmark it.
  • When you need help fixing your Windows PC or any third-party software, look no further than our comprehensive Troubleshooting Page.
How to fix Microsoft.Photos.exe high memory usage
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Microsoft.Photos.exe is the process of the Photos app that comes with Windows 10. However, quite a few users have posted on the Microsoft forum about heavy Microsoft.Photos.exe CPU and RAM utilization.

One user stated,

Since the Fall Creator’s Update, the Photos app has started taking up huge portions of the CPU and memory, causing the battery to run down and the fan to go crazy… even if I haven’t opened the app.

Learn how to fix high memory usage with the steps below.

How do I stop Microsoft Photos EXE?

1. Remove OneDrive Folders From Photos’ Scanning

  1. Some users have said that they’ve fixed Photos’ heavy system resource utilization by turning off OneDrive syncing and removing search folders for the app. To do so, open the Photos window shown directly below.Photos app high memory usage
  2. Click See more at the top right of the app‘s window.
  3. Select Settings to open the option shown below.Photos app settings high memory usage
  4. Click the X crosses for each folder to remove those search sources.
  5. Toggle the Show my cloud-only content from OneDrive option off to turn off OneDrive syncing.
  6. Close Photos and restart Windows.

2. Use a different app

Adobe Lightroom

  1. Create an account
  2. Download Adobe Lightroom for free
  3. Run the installation wizard
  4. Log in and enjoy

You can uninstall the default Photos app, as described below, and use Adobe Lightroom instead.

Lightroom can give any photo editor a run for its money, as Adobe has a reputation for creating powerful multimedia software. With Lightroom, you can easily manage, edit and share your photos.

Moreover, you gain access to powerful features like tagging your friends, organising files into albums, cloud storage and instant access to your library across your different devices.

3. Terminate the Runtime Broker and Photos Background Task Host Processes

  1. The Runtime Broker and Photos Background Task Host processes can inflate Microsoft.Photos.exe system resource utilization. To terminate those processes, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.Processes tab high memory usage
  2. Select the Processes tab.
  3. Right-click Runtime Broker and select End task.
  4. Right-click Photos Background Task Host process and select End task.

We’ve written a nice piece about Google Photos, a great alternative for Microsoft Photos. Do check it out.

4. Turn Off Photos Background App

  1. Users can turn off apps running in the background to reduce their system resource utilization. To disable Photos as a background app, press the Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. Input the keyword ‘background app’ in the search box.
  3. Click Background apps to open the window in the snapshot directly below.Background app settings high memory usage
  4. Then toggle the Microsoft Photos app off.

5. Select an Alternative Default Image Viewer App

  1. Alternatively, users can select an alternative default image viewer to run in the background. Enter ‘default apps’ in the Type here to search box.
  2. Click Default apps to open the Settings window as in the shot directly below.Default app settings high memory usage
  3. Click Photos under Photo viewer.
  4. Then select an alternative image viewer on the Choose an application window.

6. Uninstall the Photos App

  1. Users who don’t need the Photos app can uninstall it to ensure that it doesn’t hog any system resources. Open the Windows search utility with the Windows key + S hotkey.
  2. EnterPowerShell as the search keyword.
  3. Right-click PowerShell and select its Run as administrator option, which opens PowerShell with elevated user rights.
  4. Next, input this command in PowerShell: Get-AppxPackage *photo* | Remove-AppxPackage. Press Enter after entering that command.Remove Photos PowerShell command high memory usage
  5. Restart Windows after uninstalling Photos.
  6. After removing Photos, add an alternative image viewer to Windows 10. IrfanView and FastStone Image Viewer are two of the best third-party software alternatives to Photos.

Those are some of the resolutions that can reduce Photos’ system resource utilization in Windows 10. Reducing Photos’ excessive system resource usage will then free up RAM for other software.

FAQ: Microsoft.Photos.exe memory issues

  • Why does Photos use so much memory?

High memory usage can happen because of the Runtime Broker but it can be easily fixed by following this guide.

  • What does Microsoft Photos EXE do? is the process that the Photos app runs under. Whenever you have the Photos app running, you will see this process in Task Manager.

  • How do you stop Microsoft Photos EXE from running?

You can close Microsoft Photos.exe task by following the instructions listed at step 1 of our guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2019 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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