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

One of the biggest annoyances when it comes to computers is how slow they can become when installing updates. Not only does this make it difficult to use the computer, but it means that you get less done since your computer will not process tasks as quickly. If you’ve recently checked on your Task Manager to see what’s causing the slow-down and found that a Windows process called Modern Setup Host is at fault, then read on to learn why this process is eating up your CPU and disk resources and how to fix it.

What Is The Modern Setup Host?

Modern Setup Host showing high memory and disk use.

The Modern Setup Host, also known as SetupHost.exe, is a Windows process that runs in the background of your computer during the installation of major updates. It is a component that comes installed with your Windows operating system and is typically located in your $Windows.BT folder. It also plays an important role in running the system setup process for those who are upgrading from a previous version of Windows to Windows 10.

How Long Should Modern Setup Host Run For?

Depending on your computer’s performance level, the Modern Setup Host should only run between 15-30-minutes during the installation of minor updates. If you are installing a large feature-rich update, it may need to run anywhere between 2-4 hours.

What Causes Modern Setup Host to Eat CPU & Disk Resources?

There are a few reasons that can cause the Modern Setup Host to hog up your central processing unit and disk drive’s resources.

  1. You are downloading a large update onto a hard drive disk that has a slow read/write speed.
  2. There are other resources or tasks running that are slowing down the SetupHost.exe process.
  3. You have malware or a virus that is disguised as the SetupHost.exe process.

If you are worried that you may have picked up a virus somewhere, run antivirus software to rule this circumstance out. If you do not have a virus and the Modern Setup Host is still hogging up all your resources, move on to the fixes below.

7 Ways to Fix Your Modern Setup Host From Hogging CPU & Disk Resources

1. Toggle Off Suggestions, App Control, & Background Apps to Combat High Disk Usage.

If you have a lot of other processes or tasks running while your Modern Setup Host is trying to install an update to your computer, these may slow down the installation process. You can try disabling these and restarting the computer to see if that helps drop the number of resources Modern Setup Host is hogging.

For Suggestions:

  1. Open up system settings. Windows + I key.
  2. Tap into “system” and “notifications & actions” on the left-side system menu.
  3. Uncheck the 4th option, which is for Windows suggestions. This will stop tips & trick-type suggestions from popping up.
How to turn off Windows suggestions.
  1. Go back to system settings and click “personalization” from the menu.
  2. On the left-side menu pane, choose the “start” option.
  3. Toggle off the on start “show suggestions” option.
How to turn off Window suggestions on Start.

For App Control:

  1. Open up system settings. Windows + I key.
  2. Head into the Windows “update & security” option.
  3. Choose Windows “security” from the left panel.
  4. Click on the “app & browser” control and toggle off.
How to turn off app & browser control.

This will allow you to turn off Windows Smartscreen. If you are turning this off, make sure to turn it back on before downloading anything from online or downloading applications from the Windows app store.

For Background Apps:

  1. Open up system settings. Windows + I key.
  2. Choose the “privacy” option from the menu.
  3. Choose “background apps” in the left panel.
  4. In the list of apps, toggle off all that are unnecessary.
How to turn off background apps.

Now you must modify the index to ensure that all of these options remain off. To do this, simply click your Windows key, type in “index” and open the index options. Then click on modify, uncheck the options above, and save your settings.

2. Run the Windows 10 Troubleshoot to Fix Errors Causing High CPU Usage.

If your Modern Setup Host is hogging all of your CPU resources (slow computer), then try running the built-in Windows Update Troubleshoot Program. This is built right into Windows 10 systems, but for those on Windows 7 and 8, you can download it here. Here is how to run this program.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in Troubleshoot.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot Settings from the search query.
  3. Choose Troubleshoot from the left-hand panel menu.
  4. Under “Get Up & Running” section, find the Windows Update near the end.
  5. Click “Run Troubleshooter”.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to resolve any outstanding issues.
How to run the Windows Update Troubleshoot Program.

See if the problem persists.

3. Clear Out Temporary Files From Your SoftwareDistribution Folder.

If your Modern Setup Host is trying to install an update but ends up failing or you suspect that it has become stuck, this may be from conflicting temporary files in your SoftwareDistribution folder. When the Modern Setup Host program runs indefinitely because it is stuck/failing, it can cause a major spike in CPU/Disk usage.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open up the run dialogue box. This allows you to insert in a command to open up a particular program or service.
  2. Type in SoftwareDistribution and hit enter.
  3. In the new window that pops up, click into the download folder.
  4. Hold down the left shift and click on the first item in the list and then the last. This allows you to select all in the folder.
  5. Right-click the files and hit delete.
  6. Close the window.
  7. Restart your computer.
How to delete files from the SoftwareDistribution Folder.

When you reboot, the Modern Setup Host will try installing the update again, but hopefully won’t take up any extra resources this time.

4. Fix Windows Update Errors to Resolve Modern Setup Host Length of Time

If your Modern Setup Host is taking hours to download and install updates, thus hogging your CPU & Disk resources, you may have corrupted update files that need to be fixed. You can fix this by running a DISM scan.

What command prompt looks like.
  1. In your computer’s search, type in Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click and run as administrator from the results options.
  3. Run the following commands.
    1. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth [enter].
    2. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Checkhealth [enter].
    3. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth [enter].
  4. Wait for repairs to be fixed and do not disrupt or close the command window. Once the process is done, reboot the computer and see if your Modern Setup Host still hogs resources or fails to install any updates.

If you are on Windows 7, you will need the System Update Readiness Tool, which can be downloaded and installed from here.

5. Prevent Other Processes From Interfering With Modern Setup Host.

The Modern Setup Host may have other programs inferring with it, causing it to use up a lot of disk resources, take forever to install, or even fail. You can try doing a clean boot to see if another process is slowing down the Modern Setup Host.

  1. Hold down the Windows key + R to get the run dialogue box to pop up.
  2. Type in “msconfig” (no quotes).
  3. Make sure you are on the “general” tab.
  4. Click on “selective startup”. This will allow you to then uncheck the “load startup” items.
  5. Move over to the “services” tab and check “hide all Microsoft services”.
  6. Move over to the “startup” tab and open the task manager.
  7. Disable all startup items. Right-click them to do this.
  8. Close the task manager.
  9. Back in the system configuration, hit okay.
  10. Restart your computer.
How to only load system services.

The Modern Setup Host should restart its download and installation process. See if the issue persists with high CPU or disk usage.

6. Make Sure You Are Using Your System’s Default System Language

If your computer’s operating system language (English, French, German, etc) does not match the default system user-interface language, the Modern Setup Host can “hang” or have trouble installing updates. This, in turn, can cause it to freeze, eat up resources, or fail altogether.

  1. In your computer’s search bar, type in “control panel” and open it.
  2. Head to the Clock & Region option.
  3. Under “format” click the drop-down menu and make sure that it matches your system’s default user-interface language.
  4. To check your system’s default user-interface language, click language preferences (found under format).
  5. In the new window that pops up, the system language will be listed under “Windows Display Language”.
How to set system default language.

Restart once you have these matched together.

7. A Temporary Fix: Disable Windows Updates

If you are looking for a temporary fix, you can disable Windows updates for the time being. This is only a temporary solution and will not fix the root issue that is causing your Modern Setup Host to hog resources.

  1. Hold down your Windows Key + R.
  2. Use the command line services.msc. Hit okay.
Run services dialogue box.
  1. Find Windows Update in the services menu.
  2. Right-click is and hit properties.
  3. On the “general” tab, click the drop-down menu for startup type. Choose disabled.
  4. Click “stop” if it is currently running.
  5. Move to the “recovery” tab and set the “first failure” to no action.
  6. Hit apply to save changes.
How to disable Windows Updates temporarily.

We do not recommend disabling Windows Updates for extended periods as failure to update your computer may cause critical errors and pose security risks to your system.

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