Explorer.exe 30% CPU usage

Lately I've been having a problem with explorer.exe using 30% or more of my processor. The problem seems to accrue after I close a full screen directx program(or at least I think). I've ran a virus scan using Trendmicro titanium and malwarebytes, but haven't found anything.

My specs.
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Compaq-Presario
System Model: NY541AA-ABA CQ5210Y
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 215 Processor (2 CPUs), ~2.7GHz
Memory: 3072MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 3070MB RAM
Page File: 2201MB used, 3937MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11

Display Devices
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce GT 240
Chip type: GeForce GT 240
Display Memory: 2265 MB
Dedicated Memory: 986 MB
Shared Memory: 1279 MB
Driver Name: nvd3dumx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvwgf2umx.dll,nvd3dum,nvwgf2um,nvwgf2um
Driver File Version: 8.17.0012.6724 (English)
Driver Version:
DDI Version: 10.1
Driver Model: WDDM 1.1
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 2/23/2011 08:28:00, 12862568 bytes
WHQL Logo'd: Yes


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
You will need to use other utilities to get a better picture of what might be going on. For instance, is the 30% for one processor, or all? You might start with Task Manager and look at Processes. Click "all Users" then the top of the CPU column so as to set the highest user at the top part. See if you can pick out any process using that power.

The Resource Monitor you can start from the Task Manager will show a more detailed view of most of the information.

If you find a process, but cannot determine what might be running inside it causing the problems, you may need to download some special software to give you those answers. The Microsoft System Internals site has free software to download and some videos that cover some of the trouble shooting techniques.

Let us know what you discover or if you need something.

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Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Any progress with you situation?

Unfortunately no I've just a few of the programs from the site you listed, but I still can't seem to track down the problem.
Also to answer you question it is both of my cores running at 30%, and it is explorer.exe. I've been working around the problem lately.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
If you want, you can go back to this site and look at the video of Case of the Unexplained 2010. The first senario is one where the processor is being over worked.

If you do not really want to do it yourself, I would suggest the next step might be to download and run Process Monitor. Make a log of around 20 seconds of your system. Save it and send it to me or zip it and attach here. I am not an expert at such things, but I will try to help.

If you downloaded process explorer, open it and double click on explorer.exe. Go to the threads tab and use the snipping tool to take a picture and attach. Hopefully one of the threads will show some increased activity. The reason you can't tell from just knowing Explorer is using CPU time, is there are around 25 threads running in my version of explorer and any one might be the culprit.

Other than using some software from the site for trouble shooting, I would have to suggest using Msconfig.exe to stop some of the Startup items from running. You might discover which one is causing the problem by trial and error. Maybe check to see if a newer video driver is available, and run a DirectX test. (DXDiag.exe) Since you are running x64, you might notice there is a button near the bottom to run that version also.


Last edited:
Okay so I had some time and watched the video you said. I found out that SHLWAPI.dll is what is using all the power.
Also found in the stack:
Which brings me back to it's a problem with DirectX.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Well, it does certainly light up when I run the dxdiag.exe test program. One site talks about it being responisble for pulling colors for the system. Right now I am showing around 5 or 6 threads for SHLWAPI.dll and teh total CPU usage is .01 and none seems to be from direct draw.

Do you plan on using Process Monitor next to get a log of what might be going on? If you get one, you might send it to me to see if I can see anything. I have never really measured how large the logs get, but you might want to keep that in mind. Maybe zipping it will keep it small.

I am not sure where to suggest you look for any drivers, just make sure your DirectX is up to date, and possibly check your video drivers.

Well Seeing how this is mainly a gaming computer I decided to just wipe it back to the factory settings. Thank you for all the help I now know what an where to look for problems like this.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
OK, whatever you think is best.

But while you have it you might at least see if you can determine what is causing it to wig out. If you do a cold boot, does it overwork the CPU? If not, does running the dxdiag.exe utlity start it going? If not, does starting one of your games start it going.

It might be one of the games is not behaving well.

Anyway, good luck with it.

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