Modern Setup Host: Fix High CPU and High Disk Usage Problems

If you haven’t noticed this, your computer is very slow when you download and install updates for the computer. If you want to know what slows down your computer, during the updating process, launch your Task Manager it will show you the Modern Setup Host process and you’ll notice that it is using up an unusual amount of CPU resources. Do not worry because this article will guide you on what to do. 

What is a Modern Setup Host in Windows 10?

Modern Setup Host (SetupHost.exe) is a system process that runs in the Windows OS when large updates are being downloaded and installed on the computer. Users can find this process running the Task Manager when the existing Windows Operating System (OS) version is being upgraded to a newer one. This process does not run when an update is not in progress.

Once an update is detected, it starts up and preps the system for receiving an update. If not for the Modern Setup Host process, you will not be able to get the most recent update for your OS. This process will play an important role in your PC, as you get your Windows 11 upgrade.

This process shouldn’t run for more than 30 minutes and if it does, it can cause damage to your CPU.

Is the Modern Setup Host a virus?

No, the Modern Setup Host process is a legitimate Windows Process and will not harm the system in any way possible, But, when a malicious file disguises itself as this system process or any other process, it will harm your computer and not get detected at the same time. To verify if it is legit, this is what you have to do.

  1. Press Ctrl, Shift, and Esc together to open Task Manager on your computer. 
  2. From the list of running processes, locate the Modern Setup Host process and right-click on it.
  3. From this context menu, choose the Open File Location option.

You should be taken to this directory – C:/ $Windows.~BT/ Sources. If you are taken to a different location, take steps to get rid of the file.

If you do not have the executable file and download it from an unknown source, there are chances that you are downloading a virus, which will, obviously, cause damage to your computer and ruin its performance.

Can I kill the Modern Setup Host process?

Yes, you can kill the Modern Setup Host process. In fact, this is one of the first things that will come to your mind when you see the abnormally high CPU usage for this process. 

You have to find this process in the Task Manager, first. Then, select it and click on the End Task button at the bottom-right part of the screen. 

Make sure that no update is in progress when you kill it, as it will be terminated immediately. 

Factors that make the Modern Setup Host cause high CPU usage

There are four factors that can make the Modern Setup Host spike up CPU usage on your computer. They are as follows –

  1. The system’s hard disk write speed is low.
  2. Too many applications are running in the system background.
  3. Windows Updates have crashed. 
  4. Specific system files are corrupt or old and require replacement.

This is not the only problem that this process can cause. You may also receive the Modern Setup Host has stopped working error message in a little dialog box.

Steps to fix the high CPU usage caused by the Modern Setup Host

Since the Modern Setup Host is a sensitive process, there aren’t many features that let you deal with issues that it causes. These are the seven steps that you can take to fix this issue on your Windows 10 computer.

  1. Troubleshoot the Windows Updates
  2. Run a DISM Scan
  3. Run the SFC scan
  4. Close apps running in the background
  5. Do a Clean Boot of the OS
  6. Take a look at the Ideal Default System Language
  7. Delete the contents of the Software Distribution Folder
  8. Turn off Windows Updates

Fixing the Modern Setup Host high CPU usage issue on Windows 10

Troubleshoot the Windows Updates

There are exclusive troubleshooters for almost every aspect of the Microsoft Windows OS. Since the Modern Setup Host is related to Windows Updates, we will be running the Windows Update troubleshooter. 

This is the procedure to run this troubleshooter.

  1. Open the Windows Settings app through the Start menu or with the keyboard hotkeys (Windows + I).
  2. Click on the Update & Security settings from the Settings home page.
Windows Settings main page
  1. Select the Troubleshoot tab on the left column, which has a wrench icon to its left.
  2.  Locate the Windows Update option. If it is not on this page, check the Additional Troubleshooters link. 
  3. Click on the Windows Update troubleshooter to expand it and choose “Run the Troubleshooter”.
Windows Update Troubleshooter in the Additional Troubleshooter page
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions that are given by the troubleshooting wizard. Then, click on the Apply this fix option to fix the problems that you face while installing updates. 

This is the simplest method to reduce the high disk usage caused by the Modern Setup Host. If an issue is detected, it is repaired immediately with minimal interaction from the users. If it is not able to be fixed by the troubleshooter, it will guide you, so that you can manually, fix it.

Run a DISM Scan

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management feature help Windows users fix corrupt installation media by checking for damaged image files and repairing them or replacing them with a newer and safer version of the file.

This is how you can fix the Modern Setup Host’s high disk usage with the help of the DISM tool.

  1. Type in cmd in the search bar at the bottom of your screen and select Run as Administrator in the search results. This will launch the Command prompt window with admin privileges. 
  2. In the Command Prompt window, you have to execute the following commands in the given order:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

This command line scans your system for damaged files.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth

This line checks if the image files are healthy or corrupt.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Executed DISM command lines

This command line will fix the detected damage.

  1. Press Enter to run them. 

This could take a while so do not interrupt the process till you see a 100% completed mark on the Command Prompt window. Restart your computer after these steps to keep these changes.

Run the SFC scan

A System File Checker (SFC) is a Windows tool that is used to find corrupt or missing system files and replace them with functioning sets of files. This is a simple command line that can be executed in Windows PowerShell or the Command Prompt tool. We can use this tool for fixing the Modern Setup Host’s high CPU usage issue or the Modern Setup Host has stopped working issue. 

These are the steps to start an SFC scan.

  1. Open the Command Prompt tool or the Windows PowerShell utility along with system administrator privileges. The search bar will be an ideal option for this.
  2. In the script window, enter this command:

sfc /scannow

Executed SFC scan command
  1. Now, press Enter on your keyboard and execute it.

This script takes a little time to scan your computer and make changes to it. Run this command thrice to completely clean your system of corrupt files. Restart your computer after this operation ends.

Close apps running in the background

As mentioned earlier, too many background applications can take up too many CPU resources and slow down your computer. This means that there will not be enough resources for the Modern Setup Host to run and thereby causing it to crash or cause high disk usage.

  1. Bring up the Settings window on your computer by pressing the Windows key and I together. You can also use the start menu to open this. 
  2. Click on the Privacy settings tile to open it.
  3. Now, go into the Background apps tab on the left pane of the Privacy window.
Running Background apps in a Windows 10 computer
  1. Click on the toggle switches of the applications that are idle most of the time, to end them. This will reduce CPU usage. 

Check the processes you are ending. If you kill a process that is running, it might crash.

Do a Clean Boot of the OS

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and choose Run from the Quick Link menu.
  2. Click on Ok or press Enter to execute the msconfig command.
The System Configuration command in Run tool
  1. In the General tab, click on the Load Startup items checkbox to disable it.
General tab in System Configuration window
  1. Then, open the Services tab and check the Hide all Microsoft services option and click on the Disable all button. 
Services tab in System Configuration window
  1. Go into the Startup tab and click on the Open Task Manager link.
Open Task Manager link in the Startup tab
  1. Open the Startup tab in the Task Manager and disable every process that is enabled in this window.
Disable option for process startup
  1. Close the Task Manager by clicking on Apply and Ok buttons.

Reboot the system after this process is complete, for a clean boot.

Take a look at the Ideal Default System Language

The system language could have been changed sometime and this can cause problems while the Modern Setup Host helps you install updates. If the configurations are incorrect, it can cause updates to freeze. 

  1. Type in cpl in the search bar and open the Control Panel.
  2. Click on the Clock and Region settings and go into the Region link.
Clock and Region settings in the Window 10 Control Panel
  1. In the Region dialog box, go into the Formats tab and click on the drop-down menu on top.
  2. The language should match the default interface language. Click on the Language preferences link and you’ll be able to find your system language in the Windows Display Language section.

Delete the contents of the Software Distribution Folder

If your Modern Setup Host process is not progressing, this could be caused by the temporary files created in the Software Distribution directory. You will have to delete this folder’s contents to see if the update installation continues.

This is what you have to do.

  1. Launch the Run tool by pressing the Windows key and R together on your keyboard. 
  2. In the Open Space, input SoftwareDIstribution and press Enter or the Ok button.
  3. This will take you to this directory:

C:/ Windows/ SoftwareDistribution

SoftwareDistribution folder directory
  1. Select all (Ctrl + A) the files and folders in this directory and delete them.
  2. Close this window and reboot your system

Turn off Windows Updates

If you disable the Windows Update service on your computer, it can help fix the Modern Setup Host issue temporarily on your Windows Operating System PC. 

Do as these steps instruct.

  1. Launch the Run tool (Windows key + R) and type in services.msc in the Open field.
Run command for Services window
  1. Run this command to open the Services window, by hitting Enter or clicking on the Ok button.
  2. Locate the Windows Update service from this list and open the context menu by right-clicking on it. 
  3. Select Properties to open a little window. 
Properties option in the Windows Update service context menu
  1. Go into the General tab and draw the Startup type drop-down menu
  2. Select Disabled and then, stop.
General tab in the Windows Update properties window
  1. Go to the Recovery tab and select Take no action for the First failure. 
Recovery Tan in the Windows Update properties dialog box
  1. Click on the Apply button to save the changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I end the modern setup host task?

Yes, you can end the Modern Setup Host task. Right-click on the Modern Setup Host in the task manager and choose End task from the context.

How do I fix the modern setup host error?

You can fix the Modern Setup Host error in Windows 10 by running a DISM & SFC scan, disabling Windows updates, ending background apps, deleting temporary files, and troubleshooting Windows Updates.

Why is my disk usage so high?

High disk usage is generally caused by system crashes, slow writing speed of the hard disk, damaged CPU components, corrupt drivers, and a large number of running applications. 

What is Windows SetupHost exe?

The Windows 10 SetupHost.exe is the system process that prepares the Operating System to receive an OS upgrade and is responsible for downloading updates and installing them. This process runs only when an update is available and not in normal circumstances. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.