What is Modern Setup Host and How to Fix High Disk Usage?

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If a specific Modern Setup Host is consuming your PC’s CPU in the Task Manager and you’re wondering what it does, we’ve highlighted everything you need to know about the system process in this explainer. As a cherry on top, you’ll also learn how to check if the Modern Setup Host is safe and how to decrease its high CPU usage on your computer.

What Is Modern Setup Host?  

The Modern Setup Host is a core part of the Windows operating system. You’ll find it on any Windows system, irrespective of the operating system version or build. Windows automatically downloads and installs the Modern Setup Host’s installation file (SetupHost.exe) on your system.

Naturally, the process waits inactive in hibernation mode, almost like it doesn’t exist. However, when you’re installing a minor or significant Windows update on your computer, the Modern Setup Host comes alive.

The main function of the Modern Setup Host is to prepare your computer to install Windows updates. During the installation process, you’ll see the Modern Setup Host running in the background.

It’s a critical component of your Windows computer. Without the Modern Setup Host, you may be incapable to update your PC to the latest operating system. Likewise, you may encounter difficulties updating your system to Windows 10 from older Windows versions if the Modern Setup Host is corrupt or malfunctioning.

You’ll find the Modern Setup Host file in the C:/$Windows.~BT/Sources folder of your system’s local disk. It is a self-initiating executable setup file; you cannot begin it manually unless there’s a Windows update ready to be installed.

Modern Setup Host Cpu
Modern Setup Host Cpu

Is the Modern Setup Host File Safe?

Microsoft is the Modern Setup Host file developer, so it’s safe to have it on your computer. However, a virus or malware can disguise itself as the setuphost.exe file on your system.

Downloading the setup file from unofficial sources or third-party websites puts you at the chance of installing a virus-ridden Modern Setup Host on your computer. That could result in performance issues like high CPU usage, battery drainage issues, etc. But how do you decide if the setuphost.exe file on your computer is genuine (from Microsoft) or a virus mirroring the Modern Setup Host file?

Check the Setup File Properties 

  • Go to the folder (Local Disk (C:) > $WINDOWS.~BT > Sources) including the setuphost.exe file.

Alternatively, enter setuphost.exe in the Windows Search box, right-click on setuphost.exe on the result page, and click Open file location.

  • Right-hit the setuphost.exe file and select Properties from the context menu.
  • Enter to the Details tab and check the setup host Copyright belongs to ⓒMicrosoft Corporation.
  • Also, enter the Digital Signatures tab and check if Microsoft Windows is in the Name of signer column.

These are indications that the setuphost.exe file on your system is genuine and safe. However, if the Modern Setup Host continues to manage CPU resources excessively, you should scan your PC for viruses and malware using an antivirus app.

Why Modern Setup Host Has High CPU Usage

We’ve already established that Modern Setup Host helps get your PC ready for the installation of Windows updates. All things being equal, it should only take the setuphost.exe file about 15—30 minutes to perform this task. If the process runs into hours and begins to raise your system’s CPU load, it could be because:

  • Your hard disk has a slow write speed, affecting how fast updates are downloaded and installed on your computer.
  • There are corrupt or conflicting temporary files on your PC.
  • The Windows Update process is stuck.
  • Numerous apps are running in the background.

Ways to Fix Modern Setup Host Issues

The Windows 10 operating system has a built-in tool that diagnoses and automatically fixes issues preventing your computer from installing updates. This tool could also support resolve issues causing the Modern Setup Host to malfunction.

Run Windows Update Troubleshooter

  • Launch Windows Settings and hit Updates & Security.
  • On the right sidebar, click Troubleshoot.
  • Choose Windows Update and click the Run the troubleshooter button.
  • If the Windows Update troubleshooter detects a fault preventing your computer from installing an update, click Apply the fix to resolve the problem immediately.

Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder

The SoftwareDistribution folder stores the necessary files needed to install new updates on your computer. If this folder includes corrupt or conflicting temporary files, you might encounter difficulties installing Windows updates. That could also make the Modern Setup Host process linger in the background, driving up CPU usage.

To fix this, delete the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder and restart your system. You don’t have to worry about destroying anything on your device. Windows will redownload the necessary files.

Follow the moves below to delete the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder.

  1. Launch the Windows Run prompt through the Windows + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Next, type software distribution into the dialog box and click OK.
  3. Please select all the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder and delete them. Better yet, back up the content in another folder on your system.

Disable Background Apps

When unnecessary apps are running in the background, they take over CPU resources from vital system activities. Disable as several unnecessary background apps as you can. That should reduce your system’s CPU load and hasten up the Windows Update process.

  • Start the Windows Settings menu and select Privacy.
  • Scroll to the App permissions section on the right sidebar and choose Background apps.
  • Look through the background applications and toggle off applications that you barely use.

Delete Corrupt Files

Unexpected checks (internet or power failures, for example) during the download and installation of Windows Updates can result in a buildup of corrupt files. Consequently, this could cause the Modern Setup Host process to get abandoned in the background and use high CPU resources.

To correct this problem, use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools to repair corrupt files preventing the Windows update.

  • Enter command prompt in the Windows Search box and click Run as administrator.
  • Paste the command below in the console and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
  • Wait until the tool performs the scan of your computer (i.e., when the progress bar gets to 100%) before you proceed to the next step.
  • Paste the command below in the console and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Check health
  • Again, wait till the progress bar gets to 100% and move to the next step.
  • Paste this command in the console and hit Enter.
  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  • Lastly, paste the command below to run the System File Checker tool.
  • sfc /scannow

Note: Each command can take many minutes (say 10 – 20 minutes) to complete. Do not close the Command Prompt window or prevent the process.

Restart your system when these successfully executed commands and check if that resolves the Modern Setup Host high CPU usage issue.

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