What Is WMI Provider Host (and Is It Safe).
Processes like the WMI Provider Host are little known to most Windows users, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important to the operating system. In this case, as is the case with other critical processes like csrss.exe, the WMI provider host shouldn’t be something you need to think about, unless it leads to high CPU or RAM usage.
The WMI Provider Host process should generally not be a concern, as without it Windows will not function properly. However, if wmiprvse.exe has problems, it could indicate more serious problems, such as a malware infection. Here’s everything you need to know about the WMI Provider Host process on Windows 10.
What is WMI Provider Host in Windows 10?
The WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) provider host process acts as a relay of information, offering information about how Windows is currently running to the various running programs and system services that request it.
These requests are handled by WMI providers, which are responsible for providing specific bits of system information. For example, if another service needs access to the Windows event log, it will be provided by the event log provider.
WMI providers are also not limited to Windows services. Third-party applications and services can be built using WMI providers, which can be used to provide information to other applications and services. This kind of management system can be useful, especially if you are responsible for a large number of Windows devices.
At the top of the chain is the WMI provider node (wmiprvse.exe). It is the process that controls each of these WMI providers. Without it, Windows is likely to stop working because the data provided by the WMI providers is used by other services to make Windows work properly.
Is the WMI provider host secure and can it be disabled?
While it is natural to be interested in Windows processes that you are not familiar with, you can relax because the WMI Provider Host is a completely safe process for Windows and should be left running.
In fact, any attempt to shutdown the WMI provider host process could have unintended consequences. Such vital system processes do not occur by accident – they are performed to keep Windows fully functional. In particular, the WMI provider node provides detailed system information to other processes.
Without this information, your computer might assume that a critical system failure has occurred. This could cause a critical process died BSOD error that would immediately crash your computer and stop working.
If the process is causing problems, it is probably because another application or service is communicating with it, which you can stop or disable. With this in mind, the answer is obvious: the WMI provider host cannot be shut down, and you should not try to do so.
The only exception is when another process is called the WMI provider host, when it is not a real process. Certain types of malware are known to mimic critical processes in an attempt to trick users into a quick glance at the Windows Task Manager.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to check if this is the case, as we explain in the section below.
How to Troubleshoot WMI Provider Host High CPU Issues
During normal PC use, it is rare to see a WMI provider host with high CPU issues. Most of the time, the wmiprvse.exe process is idle, ready to process requests for information.
If you notice a spike in CPU usage, it could be due to a request for information from the WMI provider to another application or service. This may be unavoidable if you are running Windows on an older, slower PC, but if the WMI provider host reports high CPU usage for an extended period of time, you will need to investigate further.
You can check which processes are using the WMI provider host service from Event Viewer, where error and warning reports from WMI providers are recorded. Using this information, you can track another application or service that is causing the WMI provider node to use higher CPU usage than usual.
- To do this, right-click the Start menu and select Run. option. In the Run window, enter eventvwr.msc and click OK to open.
- In the Event Viewer window, use the left navigation menu to open the Applications and Services Logs Microsoft Windows WMI-Activity Operational. In the middle section, look for recent events (marked as Error) that could indicate a process. Select the reported bug, then find the ClientProcessId listed on the General tab in the information section below.
- Using the ClientProcessID number, you can find the corresponding process causing the problem by opening the Windows Task Manager. Right-click the taskbar at the bottom and select Task Manager to do this.
- In the Task Manager window, click the Details tab, then locate the entry with the PID number that matches the ClientProcessID from Event Viewer.
Once you find a process that is causing problems with the WMI provider host, you can try to terminate, disable, or delete it. If it is a different Windows system process, you may have to do some troubleshooting while installing Windows, such as repairing corrupted system files.
Check if a legitimate WMI provider host
The WMI Provider Host process that you see in Windows Task Manager is a Windows system process – or should be. You can check if this is the case (and whether a virus or other type of malware is hiding) by tracking the location of the process file.
- To do this, open the Windows Task Manager by right-clicking the taskbar at the bottom of the window and choosing Task Manager from the menu.
- In the Task Manager window, find the WMI Provider Host process in the Processes tab (or wmiprvse.exe in the Details tab). Right-click the process, then select the Open File Location option.
- Windows Explorer starts and opens the location of the WMI provider host executable file. You need to find it in the C: Windows System32 wbem folder. If so, then the process running on your computer is a legitimate Windows system process.
If you find another location opening in File Explorer, you have a problem as the process you see in Windows Task Manager is not a legitimate system process. You will need to find and get rid of malware as part of the next steps to make sure your computer is safe.
Understand Windows System Processes
The WMI Provider Host system process is just one of hundreds of hidden executables that power your Windows installation. It cannot be disabled, and if you try to uninstall or stop it, Windows might crash and you might have to erase and reinstall Windows if nothing else works.
High CPU utilization system processes like wmiprvse.exe and dwm.exe often indicate other issues with maintaining your PC, from dusty PC fans to malware infection. If the process in Windows Task Manager seems unfamiliar to you, it doesn’t mean you need to scan for malware, although it won’t do any harm.