One of the most common complaints from Windows users is that their computer tends to slow down over time. You will then open Task Manager to determine which application or process is consuming all the resources necessary to strain your Windows computer. Among the exhaustive lists of processes, you will find one that says Runtime Broker running in the background. And you might be wondering what the Runtime Broker process is. Also, should you be worried about it? We will address your concerns
The Runtime Broker was developed by Microsoft in-house and comes preinstalled with Windows. The RuntimeBroker.exe application is an executable system file, and you will find it running under the Processes tab of Task Manager. Let’s understand what this process is, how it works, why you need it, and how to troubleshoot it if necessary.
What is Runtime Broker
It was developed by Microsoft and has been part of the Windows operating system since Windows 8. It is one of the core Windows system processes, but it mostly only runs when you launch a UWP (Universal Windows) application. Platform). These applications were called Metro applications in Windows 8. Simply starting the computer will not activate and run it. So when you open a UWP app, it triggers the Execution Broker and continues to work to ensure that the particular app runs smoothly. That is why we do not recommend ending this task for obvious reasons. If you always close it, all UWP apps and even compatible ones might behave strangely or crash.
The job of RuntimeBroker.exe is to check and verify if all open applications have the necessary permissions and have declared the same to the user. These permissions can include access to camera, microphone, files, etc. This is why you will notice that I have multiple Runtime Broker instances in the screenshot above. This is because there were multiple apps running when I took the screenshot.
Note that Runtime Broker will check permissions for apps installed from Microsoft Store only. Being an important system process, there is no way to disable or end this process permanently.
Why you need an execution broker
This makes Runtime Broker our guardian of security and privacy, in a way. Even when installing an app from the Microsoft Store, chances are it will ask for permissions it doesn’t need to do its job. Runtime Broker will show a pop-up asking you to allow / disallow the app this particular permission.
It gives you much needed control over which applications can access which parts of your computer. You don’t want a malicious application full of malware asking for permission on your hard drive or webcam, do you? You need RuntimeBroker.exe to protect your privacy and ensure your security.
When should I be concerned about Runtime Broker
Microsoft notes that RuntimeBroker.exe should not consume more than a few MB of memory at best. RAM and CPU usage may increase briefly if you open a UWP app, but only temporarily, and that’s okay. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager and check status under Processes tab. If it is consuming a lot of memory, there could be several reasons for this.
Malware or virus could act as Runtime Broker, so the system antivirus would leave it alone. Any of the UWP apps you installed might not work properly, causing Runtime Broker to consume more RAM or CPU, as applicable. This could be a memory leak that occurred once, but has since been fixed by Microsoft with an update. You should be concerned when you think you might have any of these situations, but we’ve got a few solutions to help you fix them.
How to solve the problem of resource consumption by Runtime Broker on Windows
We’re going to start with the simplest and build from there. Don’t assume the worst unless you have a reason to. For example, did you access the Internet over an open network or using public Wi-Fi? Have you visited or opened a questionable site?
1. End the task and restart
I know what I said, but it’s different. When you complete the Runtime Broker task, it will automatically restart within seconds and open applications may be affected. Save all your work and get it done, then restart your computer immediately.
Step 1: Right-click on the RuntimeBroker.exe process to select End Task.
2nd step: Restart your computer from the Start menu as you always do.
Have you noticed a pattern where launching a particular application results in the RuntimeBroker.exe issue? If so, uninstall this app and check again. Contact the developer to see if there is indeed a memory leak that he / she may be able to patch with a patch.
2. Scan everything
Shut down everything you’re running and run a full scan of your computer using the antivirus of your choice. I recommend using Windows Defender, which is now part of the Windows Security Suite, but you can use any.
Once it’s done, download and install Malwarebytes and run another scan with it. Antivirus applications cannot find malware.
Download and run Microsoft Safety Scanner, which should be downloaded pretty much every time you need to run it. This will further reduce the problem.
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Now that you know that Runtime Broker is a system application, you shouldn’t worry much about it. If this suddenly consumes resources, an application can consume them. While it seems likely, there aren’t many reports of viruses or malware claiming to be RuntimeBroker.exe yet. Mainly, it’s a memory leak or one of the acting UWP apps. You can scan for malware and viruses to be sure. Have you had any weird experiences with Runtime Broker and UWP apps? Share your experience in the comments below.
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Last updated on 23 Dec 2020
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