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Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

Windows as we know it works on a lot of background processes that keep everything together and running. However, these processes aren’t foolproof and sometimes run into problems which can, in turn, cause problems with your PC.

In this article, we’re talking about the Shell Infrastructure Host (sihost.exe) process, what it does, the problems it can face and everything else you need to know.


What is Shell Infrastructure Host?

The Shell Infrastructure Host takes care of different graphical UI elements of Windows, including the desktop background, the taskbar and the start menu. The process itself is called Sihost.exe. 

It’s responsible for properly rendering and handling most of the Windows elements we see. Usually, the process doesn’t require a lot of system resources, but if a malfunctioning Windows app or setting causes some problems, it can cause the process to use a lot of CPU.

Also read: Windows error 0xc1900106: 7 Fixes


How to fix problems with sihost.exe?

Here are nine solutions you can try out if the Shell infrastructure host process uses too much CPU on your computer. 

Restart your PC

One of the first things you should do in such cases is to restart your PC. Restarting Windows will also restart all background processes and resolve any issues with Shell infrastructure host causing high CPU usage. 


Update your PC 

Another thing you should do is to update your PC. Updating your PC will, in most cases, update your drivers and fix any issues.

Check out this detailed guide to know how to update your PC here

Enable virtualisation

If you’re running Windows as a virtual machine, you’re already limiting the resources it has. Enabling virtualisation in the BIOS settings will allow a virtual machine to perform better as it interfaces directly with the hardware. This can resolve the high CPU usage caused by Shell infrastructure host. 

Check out our detailed guide on how to enable or disable virtualisation in BIOS here

Also read: How to fix error 0x800700e1?


Run an SFC scan

Corrupt files are the number one reason your PC might behave weirdly. Here’s how you can get rid of them and potentially resolve your issue. 

Step 1: Press Windows Key + S to open the Cortana/Search box and search for Powershell. Open Windows Powershell from the search results.

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Step 2: Type sfc /scannow to scan your system for issues. 

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Step 3: If the SFC scan finds any problems, use the following command to resolve them. 

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
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Restart your PC, and the Shell infrastructure host process should be running just fine.  


Perform a clean boot

To isolate the problem, perform a clean boot and then start the missing processes one at a time to find your culprit. 

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for System Configuration. 

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Step 2: Head over to the Services tab. 

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Step 3: Uncheck the Hide all Microsoft Services checkbox. Now click the Disable All button. 

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Step 4: Head to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.

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Step 5: Click the Startup tab again, select all the services and click the Disable button. 

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Now restart the computer and launch the services one at a time to find the problematic service. 

Also read: How to know a website is safe?


Restart File Explorer

Restarting the file explorer can often fix any issues with background processes not working correctly. All you have to do is open the task manager, find the explorer.exe process and restart it using the button in the bottom right. 

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Once File Explorer has restarted, your PC should start functioning normally. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you can end the sihost.exe process to see if that helps. 


Disable background slides

Background slides can also eat a lot of CPU resources on weaker systems. Here’s how to disable them.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to open Windows settings. Click Personalisation.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

Step 2: Click Background.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

Step 3: Under Personalise your background, select either Picture or Solid colour.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

The Shell infrastructure host process should consume far fewer CPU resources now. 


Disable transparency

Since Windows introduced the transparent aero theme, weaker systems have had difficulty rendering elements properly. Here’s how you can disable the feature. 

Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to open Windows settings. Click Personalisation.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

Step 2: Head over to Colours.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

Step 3: Toggle the Transparency effects slider off and make sure that Accent colour is set to Manual.

Shell infrastructure host: All you need to know

The Shell infrastructure host process should consume far fewer CPU resources now. 


Repair the system

If nothing else works, simply reinstalling or repairing your OS is the best way to eliminate the error. 

The Windows Media Creation tool is a great way to install Windows and repair the OS. Using this, you can perform a clean installation or repair your OS without affecting your data.

You can download the Media Creation Tool here

Also read: Windows error 0x0 0x0: 6 Fixes

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