Microsoft – Memory – High Memory usage by explorer.exe


We have a box that is running two MS SQL Server Instances and it is trashing on MS SQL Server Memory.

So let us see what is going on.

Problem Diagnosis

Task Manager

On viewing memory uptake via Task Memory and ordering by working set, I see that on one of the MS SQL Server Instance is using 2.3 GB, the other is at 550 MB, and Explorer is @ 106 MB.

Screen Shot 

WindowsTaskManager - Working Set

Tabulated Output

Image Name Working Set
sqlservr.exe 2,317,740 K
sqlservr.exe 547,536 K
explorer.exe 106,532 K

On viewing same and ordering by “Commit Size”, I see that on one of the MS SQL Server Instance is using 2.5 GB, the other is at 1 GB, and Explorer is @ 720 MB.

Screen Shot Output:

WindowsTaskManager - Order By Commit Size

Tabulated Output:

Image Name Commit Size
sqlservr.exe 2,497,156 K
sqlservr.exe 1,019,472 K
explorer.exe 720,668 K

Possible Resolutions

Shell Extensions

What are Shell Extensions?

Powerful and flexible approach to extending the Shell is to implement shell extension handlers. These handlers can be implemented for a variety of actions that the Shell can perform. Before taking the action, the Shell queries the extension handler, giving it the opportunity to modify the action. A common example is a shortcut menu extension handler. If one is implemented for a file type, it will be queried every time one of the files is right-clicked. The handler can then specify additional menu items on a file-by-file basis, rather than having the same set for the entire file type.

And, so knowing that Windows Explorer’s behavior “mutates” as Windows Shell Extensions are provisioned, let us go see which ones are installed.

3rd Party Tools

The most popular tool for inventorying Shell Extensions is ShellExview.  It is available @ here.

We needed the 64-bit version and so downloaded that through links at the bottom of the page.

Portable App

No need for install, just run it.


ShellExView - Bluewire - Enabled

Did a quick view and ordered by Company.

Only one product is non Microsoft, and though the Vendor’s name is not listed the App’s name is noted as “Bluewire General Property Sheet”.  It is a Version 1,0,01 product.

And went ahead and disabled it.  

Closed all running Explorer instances.

Restarted quite a few of them and like Miley Cyrus watched for the Climb.

Thank God not an Olympian Pole Vaulter and no more climbs!

2 thoughts on “Microsoft – Memory – High Memory usage by explorer.exe

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