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What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

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Quite a few processes are running in our task manager that we might not know exactly what they do. Taskhostw.exe is one of them. 

I’ll be explaining what the process is, what it does, what causes its issues, and how to fix any issues that occur. 

What Is taskhostw.exe?

An executable file developed by Microsoft for Windows, it is a Windows operating system process and it is also recognized as a Host Protocol.

It is also known as the task host process.

What it does is mainly open Dynamic Link Library (DLL) services on Windows 10. Being a Host Protocol means it hosts the different processes that run DLL operations on your PC.

DLL files are important for programs on your system in certain functions like using printers, finding files in directories, and finding space in hard drives.

There’s also another important job of the taskhostw.exe process. When you try shutting down without closing programs like Microsoft Word, the process ensures the open programs are closed properly before shutting down the system.

How To Check Whether The taskhostw.exe Process In Your Task Manager Is A Virus

Because malware and viruses now appear as legit processes, I can’t tell you for sure that the process you’re seeing in your task manager is legit until you check yourself through the steps outlined below.

To be sure it’s a legit process, you will have to check the file path of the process. 

Open your task manager.

Right-click on the taskhostw.exe process and click on Open File Location.

If the address you’re taken to follows this path – C:\windows\system32 then it is a legit process and you don’t need to worry. 

If you’re taken to C:\Program Files or C:\Users\username, then you should be really concerned because it is malware or virus and you need to scan your system and get rid of it before it harms your system further. 

Fixing taskhostw.exe High CPU Issues

Even If you find out that it’s the real process, there are still issues (like high CPU usage) you might encounter that’s associated with the process and needs fixing. 

You might also be experiencing some errors associated with the process like

  1. Taskhostw.exe – Access Denied
  2. Taskhost.exe – Application Error
  3. Taskhost.exe – Error

Causes 

1. Wrong Or Partial Installation/Uninstallation Of Some Programs

When you don’t totally uninstall files, some files might still be left behind and this could negatively affect the task host process.

When the task host process accesses the files (because it still thinks the program is there) and can’t get any program to respond, it might result in some of the errors listed above. 

This also happens in the case of an improper or incomplete installation. The task host tries to access the program but since it wasn’t installed fully, it’ll lead to task host errors. 

2. Bad DLL Files

Malware damages DLL files and this can result in the task host process exhibiting serious errors. 

Errors can also occur when newly installed programs change existing DLL files because of the preset program preference. 

Anytime the task host process tries to access a DLL file involved in any of the situations described above, high CPU usage and other errors are sure to occur. 

3. Malicious Attacks On The Process

If a virus or malware attacks the process for some reason, it definitely will lead to errors in the task host process. 

4. Antivirus (Or Users) Deleting System Files Mistakenly

When system files directly related to the task host process or DLL files are deleted, errors and issues like high CPU usage can occur.

Sometimes antivirus software can mistake system files for malware, so be careful what you allow your antivirus to delete. You should also be careful to not delete important system files.

5. Corrupt Registry Keys 

What causes corrupt registry keys are wrong registry entries due to improper installation/uninstallation of certain programs and malware infecting Windows associated registry keys.

When this happens, the task host process will encounter a lot of errors and issues. 

6. Device Driver Issues

I’ll use a printer’s driver as an example. Like I explained before, the task host process is quite involved in the printing process.

If your printer’s driver is outdated or buggy, it can affect the DLL files which in turn will affect the task host process and then lead to errors or high CPU usage.

Fixes For taskhostw.exe Errors & High CPU Usage

1. Run DISM & SFC Scan To Repair Files

These in-built tools will help repair bad or corrupt files in your system that could be causing the task host process to experience errors.

How To Run DISM

It is important to point out that you must have a good network connection before DISM can work because it relies on Windows Updates to fix bad, corrupt, or incomplete files.

Use the shortcut keys (Windows + X) to open a menu and choose the Command Prompt (Admin) option from the list of options that appear.

If you’re prompted by your system to confirm User Account Control, select Yes and then continue the process below.

Input the command below and then click on Enter to run the command.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

taskhostw.exe

It might take more than a few minutes so you might want to exercise a little bit of patience while the command runs. 

How To Run SFC Scan

How the SFC Scan works is that it scans the protected Windows OS files looking for corrupt, bad, or incomplete files.

It then replaces any problematic system file it finds using a backup cache found in this navigation below.

C:\Windows\System32\dllcache

You can use the same command prompt that’s open. 

After the DISM command finishes running, just input the command below and click on Enter to run it.

sfc /scannow

Wait until the command runs successfully and then reboot your system. The issues and errors should be fixed now.

2. Using The PC’s Restore Point Option

Restore points are points saved by your system (automatically and manually) which you can revert to especially when your system is acting out in the present and you don’t know what’s wrong. 

The drawback with using restore points is that apps installed and data gotten after the restore point was saved will be lost. 

But at least your system will be back to a point where it worked just fine.

How To Use A Restore Point

Input in Cortana search – Restore Point.

When the search result comes, select the Create A Restore Point option.

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

This should open the System Properties menu. Look for the System Protection tab in the menu and open that tab.

In the tab, look for System Restore and click on it.

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

In the System Restore menu, click on Next. Then select a restore date out of the possible options and then click Next

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

Finish the process and your system will go back to a restore point. This should help get rid of any high CPU usage issues.

3. Reinstall Recently Installed Programs

Because incomplete installation can cause task host process errors, it is important to just reinstall any new programs immediately when you notice the errors occurring.

This fix can easily solve the issue if the problem was caused by the new programs you installed. 

You can also just install updates for the latest programs you installed if there are any updates available. 

4. Updating Windows

You can also just update your Windows because updates usually contain fixes for the common issues plaguing outdated versions. 

Follow the navigation below to update Windows.

Settings > Update & Security > Check For Updates > Download

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

After following up on the update process with on-screen instructions, just allow Windows to download and install the latest updates that might help solve the issues on your system.

5. Running A Full System Scan

Just because the task host process is legit does not mean viruses and malware can’t attack it. This tip is focused on basically clearing your system of any unwanted and malicious intruder. 

Use your in-built Windows Defender to run a full scan of your system and help you get rid of whatever might be causing the issue to occur.

How To Run A Full System Scan

Use the Start menu to search for Windows Defender.

Open Windows Security in the search results.

Click on the Virus & Threat Protection section. Then choose Advanced Full Scan in the menu that opens up.

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

Remember to select the Full Scan option and then click on Scan below in the menu to start the process.

What Taskhostw.exe is and How To Fix its high CPU Usage

It takes a bit of time so you have to be patient and plug your system into a power source. 

When it’s over, your system should be free of the issues cashing the task host process errors to occur. 

Conclusion 

The taskhostw.exe is a legit Microsoft process that is important to many system processes. Deleting or removing it is highly unrecommended. 

If you’re experiencing any issues or errors associated with the task host process, you can just use the fixes above to rectify it instead of having to use the nuclear option of removing something so important to your Windows OS.

Folks, if you have any fixes not in this list for the high CPU usage issue and other errors, please share in the comments section to help others struggling with the issue.