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What is RuntimeBroker.exe and Why is it Running?

If you’re going through Task Manager on a Windows 8 machine, you’ve probably seen RuntimeBroker.exe running in the background. Is it safe? Is it a virus? Good news, the Runtime Broker process was created by Microsoft and is a core process in Windows 8. Would you like to know more? Read on.

RuntimeBroker.exe running in the Windows 8 Task Manager

If you’ve just logged into Windows 8 and haven’t run any apps yet, you probably won’t see RuntimeBroker.exe running yet. RuntimeBroker.exe is triggered by metro apps, and if the process is ended all currently open Metro apps will immediately fully close.

So what does it do? Well, the Runtime Broker is responsible for checking if a Metro app is declaring all of its permissions (like accessing your Photos) and informing the user whether or not its being allowed. In particular it is interesting to see how it functions when paired with access to hardware, such as an app’s ability to take webcam snapshots. Think of it as the middleman between your apps and your privacy/security.

A quick look through the strings of the process shows the Microsoft definition of Runtimebroker.exe to be part of “Processes for Windows Partial Trust Components.” Most of its related registry entries and the process itself can be found at:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsRuntime
  • C:\Windows\System32\RuntimeBroker.exe

Memory Leaks

Shortly after the OEM release of Windows 8 users began reporting memory leaks associated with RuntimeBroker.exe. The result of these leaks is a huge drain on physical system resources that could cause RuntimeBroker to use several gigs of memory. These leaks are generally associated with third party apps which implement a Live Tile update function called “TileUpdater.GetScheduledTileNotifications.” When the tile update is ran, Windows 8 sends the request, but never actually releases the memory associated with the function. Note that each update call uses a small amount of memory, however the effect snowballs as requests are repeatedly sent in over time and the memory is never reallocated. To fix this requires the developer of the app to change how the Live Tile updates work for the particular app with the leak. As an end-user, the only option is to avoid using any apps with such memory leaks, and wait for them to be updated.


RuntimeBroker.exe is a safe Microsoft process included in Windows 8 to assist with Metro app permissions. With a light system footprint of less than 3,000 k of RAM being used. You’re not gong to see a performance hit from this process running in the background. This process should be left alone unless you are looking for a quick way to shut down all of your Metro apps.

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23 Responses to What is RuntimeBroker.exe and Why is it Running?

  1. gsmohor October 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Man, good article, but in my Notebook, the RuntimeBroker is consuming 1,5 GB of RAM. I’m not kidding! And I have only opened the Music App. After closed it, still running with 1,5 GB of RAM. Does anybody there have seen this?

  2. yagami October 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Mine is using 1.3GB of ram as well, any idea what is going wrong with it???

  3. Tarkus October 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Just did a search, because mine was using up all 2 GB on one system, and about 5 of 8 GB on another system. I suspect one of my Metro background apps is the cause. Gonna have to do some troubleshooting…

  4. Dare Dill October 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Same here, it’s currently using 1.1GB. I noticed the longer my pc is on the higher it goes.

    • Tarkus October 31, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      I discovered my problem was being caused by “The Time” app. I’ve been in contact with the developer, and he’s looking into it. If you’re not using that app, check your other apps that are allowed to run in the background when not open.

      • Dare Dill November 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

        Wow thanks, I do have The Time app.

        • Cori Haws January 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

          ME too.

          • raptor1jec March 27, 2013 at 10:50 am #

            Yes the memory hog is caused by Metro apps which do not properly release their memory footprint. The Time supposedly fixed the issue however.

  5. bifurcatedpanda October 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Microsoft just began offering an update that deals with this.

  6. George February 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    The problem is that it shows up in Event viewer (a zillion times in true Microsoft fashion) because of permission problems and in registry acces is denied, so can’t change it.

  7. Reuben Barton July 26, 2015 at 7:09 am #

    Runtime Broker kept thrashing my system, usually using 40% of my CPU although memory use wasn’t much, according to the Task Manager. I’m currently using Windows 10 Pro x64 version 10240.

    Runtime Broker is a service called Time Broker, which can be disabled through editing the registry.
    Right-click on the Start Menu Icon. Go to RUN and type regedit.exe and select OK.

    Find the following entry:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTimeBroker] “Start”=dword:00000003

    Change the 3 to a 4.

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTimeBroker] “Start”=dword:00000004

    4 is Disabled, 3 is Manual and 2 is Automatic startup.

    Before editing, the original value was 3. Set to 4 to disable. Just change the 3 to a 4 through the MODIFY menu selection, exit regedit and reboot your system.

    After this edit, Runtime Broker no longer runs and the CPU at idle is now only 0 to 1 or 2 percent.

    No adverse affects after disabling Runtime Broker on my system.

    • Ognyan Eroteev July 27, 2015 at 10:02 am #

      Thank you Reuben Barton , That fix the problem at me whit Time roker Auto start up

    • Zaw Win Hlaing August 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

      Dear Reuben Barton,

      You Are Amazing. My Laptop, Windows 10 also 35% to 45% of CPU Usage and Now ok. I Recommend your Suggestion . Really Work for me. Lonovo Flex, 64.


    • Gert Johansen August 13, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you, Reuben – my pc is again at rest

    • Mike October 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      RunTime Broker is constantly spinning my NAS drive and using 30%+ of the CPU memory – unless I logoff or kill the application in Task Manager. I found the regedit solution and tried that too.

      I’ve disabled RunTimeBroker by using the recommended disable solution within REGEDIT… I’ve changed to “4” to disable and done a full reboot.

      Unfortunately, this only appears to work temporarily, too. Within a few hours, RunTimeBroker was back in business and spinning my NAS drive again and sucking up my CPU cycles.

      The constant spinning of the NAS drive is noisy, irritating AND can’t be good for the life expectancy of the NAS drive itself. There must be more to the application as it seems to run even when “disabled” in regedit.

      Any ideas?

  8. Belinda July 29, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    Is there a fix for Windows 10? I notice it using a lot more CPU with Win10 than it did with Win8. Only 10%, but that’s a damned lot for a background process.

  9. Ognyan Eroteev July 29, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    Yes, I did this under Windows 10 build 10240.
    And now is primary Stopped

    • Belinda July 29, 2015 at 11:24 pm #


  10. Belinda July 29, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    I did a search for the registry entry, and it came up blank. There were a couple of entries that were similar, but the number has a 6 rather than a 2, 3, or 4.

  11. Ognyan Eroteev July 29, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Опен RUN and type: regedit and select OK.

    follow this way:


    When you clik to TimeBroker look at right box and doable clik on “Start” – Change value from 3 to a 4.
    Restart the comp and everything will start without that annoying process (TimeBroker)

  12. Sam Baudy August 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Whenever my laptop sits idle for some time, runtimebroker kicks in and CPU utilization peaks, while there is high network activity. Last time I checked with process monitor, it seemed to be crawling through my NAS device opening every file. I killed the process, but left process monitor running. After a few minutes, process monitor was again showing activity from that runtimebroker.exe, while it was not showing in Task Manager. The first PID terminated without showing in task manager. It spawned an other runtimebroker process with a different PID, that did show. This time, CPU load was minimal. The first thousands of events seemed to deal with modern apps, but then what business does runtimebroker have with my NAS and its contents? I upgraded to Win10 the day it launched from a clean install of Win8.1 and this is bugging me since then.

    • Sam Baudy August 22, 2015 at 1:27 am #

      … Then, I thought about “Libraries”. Naturally enough, I had added some folders of documents, pictures, videos, music at my NAS to the corresponding Windows “Libraries”, for faster searching and access. Once I removed them from the Libraries, RuntimeBroker was back to a minimal CPU utilization.

  13. gil August 25, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    By removing all directories in photo and groove applications Runtimebrooker stops utilizing my CPU !

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