Question HDR causing explorer.exe to have high CPU usage

ZodiacHide

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Nov 25, 2015
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So I recently bought a 2k, 144hz, HDR monitor to have as my main monitor, and it seems that whenever i have HDR enabled, after a period of time, maybe 5 minutes, explorer.exe goes from usual CPU usage around 1% to having 20% give or take some. After disabling HDR after around 5 minutes everything goes back to the usual.

I've tried to look if someone else has had a similiar problem, but everything just seems to be about watching 4k HDR content and having high cpu usage which isn't too shocking.

I do also have a secondary monitor which is Full HD at 60hz and does not support HDR. I've currently not been able to find any solution to this problem besides turning HDR off, which is a shame.

Prior to making this post, I have ran the system file checker a few times just to check if it could help, which it obviously didn't. I've also checked a multitude of times if I have any viruses, also didn't yield any result (I'm using malwarebytes).

I also have the latest drivers for my gpu.

Thanks for any and all help in advance!

I'm running a 1060, and an i5 4670k @ 3.6
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Are you using Task Manager or Resource Monitor to observe CPU usage?

In any case, launch one or the other (not both together) before that "5 minute" time frame and watch what the system is doing.

Leave the window open but slide to one side so you can continue watching the system: CPU, GPU, disk, memory, network...

Then open some 4K HDR content to watch.

At the "5 minute" mark (or thereabouts anyway) you may see what changes and corresponds with the CPU going to 20%.

May be some background app launching to backup, update, phone home....

Just be methodical and observant. Good chance that you will identify the culprit and then be able to address, if necessary, a possible fix.

See what you can find/learn and post accordingly.
 

ZodiacHide

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Nov 25, 2015
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Something I did forget to mention in the original post, is that whenever explorer.exe start eating my cpu, taskmanager that's flashing (well the text from white to black) on the monitor HDR is enabled on, but not the other monitor. The same applies to some websites, the right click menu on the dashboard and the file explorer.

Now, after about 1hr of testing, I've actually not ended up with explorer.exe using anything over1%, and the only thing unusual was some microsoft apps (Skype, Xbox companion) spiking very quickly to about 15% and Services and Controller app going up to about 25% on a few occassions. Other than that, CPU was chugging along from 60-90% usage (I guess this is expected due to me having an i5 4th gen cpu), around 30% memory usage, and a consistent 25% from my GPU. Nothing to note as far as network usage.

This is obviously very unusual as I've stated in my OP that this quickly occurred after about 5 minutes give or take a few minutes.

Something to note is that, on every launch I've had of CS:GO with hdr enabled, the explorer.exe issue occurs every time. I tried it this time as well and what do you know, happened again. The Nvidia container shot up to about 10% and explorer.exe following suit and quickly overtaking and going up into the 30% and upwards eating up what remains after Firefox, csgo and what else is running. note: System interrupts and Desktop window manager also went up to around 5%.

Something very different now, compared to other times however, when I closed CS:GO, the problem quickly resolved, around 10 seconds after the shutdown of csgo I'd say.

Relaunching CS:GO again, resulted in the same explorer.exe issue, this time I let CS:GO sit for a few seconds, and explorer.exe went back to normal usage again. Which again is very different from what I've been experiencing in the past.

I tried to recreate it for a third time, and what would you know, explorer.exe shoots up to about 20% again, fans spinning up to deal with the heat, but then again after a few seconds, it goes back down again.

This time I tried ALT+TAB to get out of the game, and explorer.exe shoots up to 20%, NVIDIA container also sitting at 10% alongside Steam. Which is somewhat unusual as the NVIDIA container tends towards 5% or lower and Steam as well if not lower. (This is with CS:GO running in the background sitting at about 7% CPU usage and 3% GPU usage).

Something I did notice however is that the Dekstop Window Manager was now eating 20-30% of my GPU while only utilizing about 3-5% of the CPU. I left the PC running in this state for about 10 minutes with no signs of explorer.exe going back down to normal usage. Note: Flickering still occurred for right click menu, the Task Manager and even the text on the right of the taskbar showing what Keyboard language has been selected.

Closing CS:GO did not yield any less usage of the CPU from explorer.exe, NVIDIA Container, Steam client WebHelper or Bootstrapper (explorer sitting at 17-25%, and rest at about 10-12%). I let this sit for another 10 minutes, no change. NVIDIA container ended up at around 26% GPU usage, about 0% CPU usage and Dekstop Window Manager at about 15% GPU usage and 5% CPU usage.

I then turned HDR off, after only 3 minutes, explorer.exe disappeared (CPU usage went back to normal), Dekstop Window Manager went down to about 3% CPU usage and 1-3.5% GPU usage, while NVIDIA Container still lurking high at around 30% GPU usage. The rest was as expected.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Work with Resource Monitor.

The graphical representations may help spot some cause/effect.

And do remember that you can sort data order by clicking the column headers in both Task Manager and Resource Monitor.

Especially if the displayed data keeps jumping about as %'s change.

For the most part I would not be concerned about the %'s per se if ongoing work and game play is impacted.

System spec question: how much RAM is installed? And how full is the disk drive? Looking for potential bottlenecks.
 

ZodiacHide

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Nov 25, 2015
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I'll give that a shot once I return home.
I have 32GB of RAM installed, ssd has over 80GB of remaining space (120gb ssd) and about 200GB left on my hdd.
 
Jan 21, 2020
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Following this thread because I have the exact same issue, all windows explorer related windows are flashing and flickering. I tried ROM flashing and DDU for the drivers on the GPU to no avail, SDR content causes no issues whatsoever. I've almost resorted to getting a new GPU as the Nvidia Container and windows explorer seem to be having some sort of conniption after using full screen HDR.

Edit:
Systems Specs: i7-8700k @ 4.9 GHz, EVGA GTX 1080ti SC2, 16 Gb RAM, 128 GB SSD Boot, 4TB Seagate HDD/SDD hybrid drive, 1000WT Power Supply
 

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