[SOLVED] Explorer.exe High Power Usage

Nov 15, 2021
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I've been scratching my head with this one - my PC runs noticeably warmer; I open up Task Manager and see my explorer.exe using 10%+ and shows "Very high power usage" (red alert).
This coincides with another issue I have - and that is, whenever this happens, every time I create a file (i.e. from Microsoft Word, Notepad, or copying an image file, or even just moving files from one folder to another), they don't show up until I hit F5 refresh.

I've spent months searching this and there doesn't seem to be an agreeable answer. I came across this:

I went into the registry to disable "Quick Access" in the navigation pane, as well as getting rid of OneDrive, and other cloud folders. No luck. The issue just comes back.
It goes away whenever I restart or sign out / sign in, but it just comes back after a while. This happens even when my PC is at complete idle.

In my Corsair app I can see my package temp runs about 10c warmer when this happens (around 60c instead of the usual 50c). If I force explorer.exe to restart, everything goes back to normal.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you so much!

EDIT: including specs below:
  • AMD Ryzen 7, 5800X
  • 64 GB RAM
  • Corsair 750W PSU
  • custom built 1 year ago (July 2021)
  • OS Build 19044.2075
  • 21H2, W10 Home
I noticed the problem when everything felt warmer than usual, and Corsair's iCue app (meant to monitor the AIO, peripherals, etc.) shows my CPU package temp about 10 degrees warmer.
 
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Nov 15, 2021
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Update: it's been 24 hours since my last post here. I started using ImageGlass as my main, default photo viewer, and completely stopped using Microsoft's Photos App (photos.exe). So far so good. Looks like this is my biggest lead. Photos app seems to be the culprit.

Update x2: I think it's photos app. I've gone two days without using photos app - did not launch it, did not touch it (didn't even uninstall it). Using ImageGlass now (and it's much better), no more issues. Hopefully my journey shared here will help someone else that has the same / similar issue. Good luck!
 
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Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Update your post to include full system hardware specs and OS information.

PSU: make, model, wattage, age, condition (original to build, new, refurbished, used)?

Task Manager is one tool. Also look in Resource Monitor and Process Explorer.

FYI: Process Explorer - Microsoft, free.

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

What is that "Corsair app "? Source?

In the meantime: stay out of the registry. Registry edits are a last resort and should not be attempted until after a full system backup and a full registry backup.
 
Nov 15, 2021
12
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Update your post to include full system hardware specs and OS information.

PSU: make, model, wattage, age, condition (original to build, new, refurbished, used)?

Task Manager is one tool. Also look in Resource Monitor and Process Explorer.

FYI: Process Explorer - Microsoft, free.

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

What is that "Corsair app "? Source?

In the meantime: stay out of the registry. Registry edits are a last resort and should not be attempted until after a full system backup and a full registry backup.
Thank you, Ralston18! I just downloaded Process Explorer. That's a nice breakdown of the processes. I'll have a look at that next time I see it heat up.
I updated the original post with my specs.

I also want to mention I've had a similar issue in the past:

For that, I found out it was Windows Media Player. I stopped using WMP and changed over to Foobar and it was fixed.

Now I'm fixing a similar issue again, this time with explorer.exe and files and folders not refreshing on their own.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
"Now I'm fixing a similar issue again, this time with explorer.exe and files and folders not refreshing on their own. "

Interesting but I am not sure what you mean by the above quote with respect to "not refreshing on their own".

What is or what do you expect to be refreshing files and folders? Some app or utility perhaps?

As a bit of a generic solution try the built-in Window's troubleshooters along with "sfc /scannow" and "dism".

References:

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-use-sfc-scannow-to-repair-windows-system-files-2626161

How to use DISM command tool to repair Windows 10 image | Windows Central

Agree: you are correct in trying to discover what happens/happened when things heat up.

Just be as methodical as you can and change things (if you do ) only one change at a time.
 
Nov 15, 2021
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Thanks, Ralston18. I did do SFC Scan Now a few days ago and it did detect something corrupt and it fixed it. But that was unrelated and it did not fix the explorer.exe high power usage issue.

"Now I'm fixing a similar issue again, this time with explorer.exe and files and folders not refreshing on their own. "
What I meant by this is, let's say for example, you copy ABC.jpg and paste it in the same location, the file will appear immediately as "ABC - Copy.jpg".
Or, if you right click > create a new folder on desktop, it should prompt you "New Folder" and you type in a new name. Or if you go into Notepad and save something like readme.txt to your desktop, that readme.txt should appear immediately after you hit Save.

What's happening for me is, coincidentally when my explorer.exe has the high power usage issue, none of the files as mentioned above appear. I would copy ABC.jpg and paste it but nothing will appear. I will right click > new folder, but nothing appears. I will save a file from Notepad, nothing appears. Nothing appears until I hit Refresh or F5. The moment I hit F5 refresh, the files appear. Very strange.....
 
Nov 15, 2021
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Update: the high power usage thing happened again - and this time I used Process Explorer to check it. Within explorer.exe, none of the processes showed high cpu usage, most of them were <0.01. But explorer.exe itself was fluctuating between 7 - 9, up and down (when it normally should be 0.01 - 0.5 or thereabouts). I was unable to catch what caused it - I was just doing the usual; opening, closing folders, etc.
 
Nov 15, 2021
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Update: I don't know if this is normal - but when it was running hot / high power usage, in Process Explorer, under the explorer.exe properties, I see "shcore.dll" using quite a bit more CPU than the others. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, but figured I'd share it here if anyone had any hints.

Another update: I came across this (which, strangely, is for Win11 and I'm on Win10):

My photos.exe did have issues before (not sure if it was ever really fixed). But I now have installed a different image viewer. Let's see if that makes any difference. Will report back.
 
Nov 15, 2021
12
0
20
2
Update: it's been 24 hours since my last post here. I started using ImageGlass as my main, default photo viewer, and completely stopped using Microsoft's Photos App (photos.exe). So far so good. Looks like this is my biggest lead. Photos app seems to be the culprit.

Update x2: I think it's photos app. I've gone two days without using photos app - did not launch it, did not touch it (didn't even uninstall it). Using ImageGlass now (and it's much better), no more issues. Hopefully my journey shared here will help someone else that has the same / similar issue. Good luck!
 
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