[SOLVED] Modern Setup Host: High CPU and Disk Usage

Modern setup host is a Windows process that runs in the background to detect and install updates.

If your Windows computer is running slowly, you should always look at processes in the task manager to see what is causing the problem.

Sometimes task manager will show that the culprit is modern setup host. This component comes installed with Windows and should normally work in the background to detect windows updates and install them. While it will always cause a spike in CPU and disk usage, it shouldn’t cause your computer to slow down.

This error can also be reported by your Windows computer as:

  • ‘High Disk Usage by Modern Setup Host’ or
  • ‘Modern Setup Host has Stopped Working’

There are a number of reasons why this can happen and also a number of ways to fix the problem.

Why do I see modern setup host high CPU and disk usage?

As we already said modern setup host (displayed as setuphost.exe in the task manager) should be a background process that you don’t notice. It stops being a background process when it slows down your computer and interferes with what you are trying to do.

There are various reasons why modern setup host might be causing high CPU usage and high disk usage:

  • You are downloading a large Windows update
  • A virus disguised as setuphost.exe is causing an issue
  • There are other background apps running simultaneously which are causing modern setup host to run slowly
  • Your operating system settings are causing problems in the windows update process

How do I solve modern setup host high CPU and disk usage?

There are a few ways that you can solve this problem. Our fixes should work on Windows 10, 8, and 7.

Before you do anything you should wait and see if the modern setup host finishes a Windows update by itself and, also, you should run anti-virus software.

Wait…

You should allow modern setup host to run for about 4 hours before you try to fix it. Modern setup host high CPU and disk usage can just be caused by a difficult windows update. If you are able to limit the amount of work you are doing with your computer this may speed up the process.

Run anti-virus software

Before trying the other fixes below you should always check that the problem isn’t being caused by a virus. If you haven’t already got one, download and run anti-virus to check this isn’t causing the problem. Some viruses disguise themselves as modern setup host.

Disable Windows updates as a temporary fix

If you need to use your computer immediately and plan to resolve the problem in more depth later on, then in the meantime you can disable Windows updates. This will stop modern setup host from working.

Instructions:
  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box
  2. Type ‘services.msc’ and press enter
  3. On the services window, right-click on Windows Update
  4. Select properties and go to the General tab
  5. On the drop-down menu select Disabled and click the Stop button
  6. Go to the Recovery tab and under First Failure select Take No Action
  7. Choose Apply and click OK

This will work as a temporary fix for the problem, but the modern setup host process will stop working and you might miss out on an important Windows update. On Windows 10 updates are important for the operating system and so it’s worth trying to fix the problem in the longer term with the fixes below.

Long-term fixes

To fix the problem in the long term try the following things…

Option #1: Run windows update troubleshooter

If you’re using Windows 10 this should be fairly easy as it will already be available. On Windows 7 or 8, if you haven’t already done so, you will need to go to the Microsoft website and download the troubleshooter.

Run the Windows update troubleshooter.

On Windows 10

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Update and Security > Troubleshoot and then to Additional Troubleshooters
  2. Go to Windows Update and then click Run the Troubleshooter
  3. Let the troubleshooter run. This will take a few minutes
  4. After you are prompted, follow the instructions provided by the troubleshooter to resolve the problems

On Windows 7 or 8

  1. Download the troubleshooter from the Microsoft website
  2. You can find it in Settings after you have downloaded or you can double click the file
  3. Choose Windows Update and then click Next
  4. Let the troubleshooter run. This will take a few minutes
  5. After you are prompted, follow the instructions provided to resolve the problems

Often the Windows update troubleshooter will be able to resolve the issue. It’s worth testing your computer for some time to see if the problem persists. You can also use the task manager to see how your system is performing.

If this hasn’t worked move onto our next suggestion.

Option #2: Run a DISM scan to fix modern setup host errors

A DISM scan will locate and fix any corrupted files which are causing modern setup host to run slowly.

  1. Search for Command Prompt in your search bar
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator
  3. Once it opens, run the following commands

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth 

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Allow the process to run to the end without disrupting it. It may take several minutes for it to complete. Be careful not to disrupt this process while it is running.

Once it’s finished, restart your computer and see if it has fixed the problem. Once again, it’s worth allowing your computer to run for some time and checking the task manager to see how the system is performing.

Option #3: Turn off background apps, app control, and suggestions

If your computer is running these processes at the same time as modern setup host, they may be slowing down your computer and causing modern setup host to take longer than usual. Turning them off may allow modern setup host to finish and for the high CPU usage problem to stop.

Background apps

  1. Search for Settings in the search bar and select it
  2. Go to Privacy
  3. Under Background Apps you will see a list of apps with a toggle switch to turn them on or off
  4. Turn off any that are unnecessary

App control

  1. Search for Settings in the search bar
  2. Go to Updates and Security > Windows Security
  3. Under Reputation-based protection, select Turn Off

Suggestions

  1. Search for Settings in the search bar
  2. Go to System > Notifications and Action
  3. Deselect Windows Suggestions
  4. Return to the Settings first page and go to Personalisation > Start
  5. Turn Show Suggestions to Off

After you have finished this, restart your computer and allow it to run for some time. Hopefully, the modern setup host process will complete and the high CPU usage problem will be resolved. Remember to return the settings for background apps, app control and suggestions to their default before long as your computer could be compromised.

Option #4: Make sure you are using the correct default system language

Modern setup host problems can occur when the default system language your computer is using doesn’t match the default system user interface language. Modern setup host will be slow at performing a Windows update if this is the case.

To fix this, first, find out your default system user interface language…

  1. Search for Command Prompt in the search bar, right-click it and choose Run as Administrator
  2. In Command Prompt type ‘dism/online/get-intl’ and press enter
  3. Command Prompt should now display your default system user interface language

Check this against your default system language.

Windows 10

  1. Search for Settings in the search bar
  2. Go to Time and Language > Region and Language
  3. The language will be displayed. Check that it’s the same.

Windows 7 or 8

  1. Open Run Dialog, type ‘control’, and click okay
  2. Select region and language
  3. The language will be displayed. Check it’s the same

If you discover that your default system language is different from your default system user interface language you will need to make sure that they match.

Option #5:Clear Out Temporary Files From Your Software Distribution Folder

On Windows 10, you can get rid of all the temporary files in the software distribution folder, which is the folder that stores files for the Windows update process. If there are unnecessary files in there they can stop the process from running smoothly.

  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box
  2. Type ‘C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download’ and press the enter key
  3. Press Ctrl + A to select every file in the folder
  4. Right-click on them and choose delete
  5. If you are asked to provide administrator permission, select Continue
  6. Restart your computer

Again, allow your computer to operate for some time before deciding whether you still have a problem. Modern setup host may have got stuck on a Windows update and once that process is complete, high CPU and disk usage will no longer be a problem. You will also have a fresh Windows update for your computer.