Runtime Broker is a Windows process that is used by universal apps — Microsoft Store apps — to control your permissions to access things like your location or microphone. If Runtime Broker consumes too much RAM or CPU, end the task with Task Manager and restart your PC.
You probably saw the Runtime Broker process in the Task Manager window and wondered what it is, what it does, and maybe even why it sometimes increases CPU usage. We have the answer for you.
What is RuntimeBroker.exe?
Runtime Broker is an official Microsoft core process that debuted in Windows 8 and is still part of Windows 10 and Windows 11. It is used to determine whether Universal apps you got from the Microsoft Store, which were called Metro apps in Windows 8, are declaring all of your permissions, such as being able to access your location or microphone. Even though it runs in the background all the time, you will likely see its activity increase when you launch a universal app. You can think of it as a go-between that connects your universal apps with the trust and privacy settings you’ve configured.
Why does Runtime Broker use memory?
When not active, the Runtime Broker maintains a very low memory profile, typically 20-40 MB. When you launch a universal app, you may see memory usage increase by 500-700 MB.
Launching additional universal apps should not cause the Runtime Broker to consume additional memory. And when you close all open universal apps, Runtime Broker memory usage should drop back to the 20-40 MB range.
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Why does Runtime Broker increase my CPU usage?
When only running in the background, Runtime Broker typically consumes 0% of your CPU. When you launch a universal app, that usage should briefly rise to 25-30% and then settle back down. That is normal behaviour. If you notice that the Runtime Broker is consistently consuming 30% or more of your CPU, displaying higher-than-expected memory usage, or increasing usage even when you don’t have a Universal App running, there are a couple of possible explanations.
If you’re using Windows 10, you may have noticed that Windows likes to show you occasional tips via notifications. For some reason this activity behaves like a universal application and involves the Runtime Broker process. You can fix this by turning off hints. Go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions, and then turn off the “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions while you use Windows” option.
It is also possible that you have a malfunctioning application that is causing the Runtime Broker to use more resources than it should. If that is the case, you will need to limit the app that is causing the problem. Make sure the app is updated to the latest version. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app. And if that fails, be sure to tell the developer about the problem (and, if you don’t need it, uninstall it in the meantime).
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Can I disable Runtime Brokers?
No, you cannot disable Runtime Broker. And you shouldn’t turn it off, anyway. It is vital to protect your security and privacy when running universal apps. It’s also very lightweight when working properly, so there’s not much reason to disable it. If you think it’s misbehaving, you can always kill the Runtime Broker process by right-clicking it in Task Manager and then choosing End Task.
After a few moments, the Runtime Broker will start again automatically. Just keep in mind that for the few moments until it reboots, universal apps will not be able to successfully access the trusted settings and may not run at all.
Is Runtime Broker a virus?
The process itself is an official component of Windows. While it is possible that a virus has replaced the actual Runtime Broker with an executable of its own, it is highly unlikely. We have not seen any reports of viruses hijacking this process. If you want to be sure, you can check the location of the underlying Runtime Broker file. In Task Manager, right-click on Runtime Broker and choose the “Open file location” option.
If the file is stored in your “C:WindowsSystem32” folder, you can be pretty sure it’s not a virus.
That said, if you still want a little more peace of mind, you can always check for viruses with your preferred virus scanner. Better safe than sorry!
This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Task Manager such as svchost.exe, dwm.exe, ctfmon.exe, mDNSResponder.exe, conhost.exe, rundll32.exe, Adobe_Updater.exe and many others.
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