Windows Media Player hogging the CPU

My computer is running Windows 7, 64 bit. Every now and then, particularly when I need the computer to do something processor-intensive such as gaming, photo editing or other, Windows Media Player decides to hog anywhere from 50% to 100% of the processor capacity for anywhere from a couple to twenty-thirty minutes. I don’t use Windows Media Player for anything at all, and I would prefer if it would simply sit there and be ignored like a well behaved bit of totally useless software.

Looking in Task Manager, these two singled themselves out as very CPU-hungry, taking up 50-100% between them:

  • wmpnetwk.exe
  • wmpshare.exe

I found a working solution that suggested disabling three WMP-related services.

  1. Open the Start menu, right-click on Computer and select Manage
  2. Go into Services and Applications, and then Services
  3. Locate the following services:
    • Windows Media Center Receiver Service
    • Window Media Service Scheduling Service
    • Window Media Player Network Sharing Service
  4. For each of those services, in turn, do as follows:
    • Right-click on the service’s name and select Properties
    • For Startup type select Disabled
    • Click OK
  5. Close the Computer Management window

After I did this, my computer has been far better behaved. The ultimate step would probably be to uninstall Windows Media Player completely (or rather disable it, as I don’t think it can be fully removed from Windows, much like Internet Explorer), but I like to keep it around in the unlikely event that I might find myself in need of it.



2 thoughts on “Windows Media Player hogging the CPU

  1. I have done that but it restarts its self. Still trying to find where to turn it off without removing it. Like you I might want to use it someday

    1. Hi ccrum! I guess you could try to rename the files to something else, for example “wmpnetwk.exe.old” and “wmpshare.exe.old”. That way you would (probably) make them “unrunnable”. I haven’t tried this myself, though, and I suspect it could set off error messages when the system tries to run them but doesn’t find them where it expects them to be. If that happens, you can just rename them back again.

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