Stopping msedgewebview2.exe to reclaim RAM

wpcoe

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I noticed that I had *12* iterations of msedgewebview2.exe in Task Manager using 268M RAM. I had never seen that .exe in Win10, so figured it was due to some new Win 11 feature(s). (Googling msedgewebview2.exe was fruitless.)

On the Task Manager Startup tab Microsoft Teams was set to auto-start. I deactivated it from doing so. Next reboot, I noticed the iterations of msedgewebview2.exe were down to "only" six.

Scrolling down the Details tab in Task Manager, I noticed an iteration of widgets.exe was running. I ended the task and immediately the six iterations of msedgewebview2.exe went with it.

However, I knew that after a reboot widgets.exe and its six partners would return. I looked for a way to stop widgets.exe from launching, and couldn't find one: Not in Startup tab of Task Manager. Not in any Run or RunOnce key in the Registry. Couldn't find it in Task Scheduler.

I decided to rename widgets.exe to prevent it from auto-loading at startup, but giving me the option to revert to its original name, if needed. (Even though I cannot imagine a scenario where I would use Widgets.) Couldn't rename it: required SYSTEM credentials. So, I used "TakeOwnership Pro" to try to be able to rename it. Still didn't work. But, I decided to make a copy of the widgets.exe file "just in case" it got munged it up in its current location. Forgot to right-click drag and ended up *moving* it to the Desktop. No problem. I'll just copy it back. Can't. ("Destination folder access denied" even though I gave my username write permissions on that folder...)

So now, widgets.exe is missing from its proper folder – and that does indeed prevent it from auto-starting – and I reclaimed all of the 250+M of RAM. YMMV...

(This is on the publicly released Win11 Version 21H2, OS Build 22000.194)
 

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barman58

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All the symptoms of a TrustedInstaller issue, you could unhide and run as the Full Administrator - but with anything like this i would only suggest trying anything on a system you can afford to lose - so have a full backup before you do anything

Another ad hoc method is to unhide the administrator and open explorer.exe using those credentials, this may allow you to move the immovable but YMMV
 

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SeCrEt BoY

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I have issue related to msedgewebview2.exe too. When playing game, a popup appear something like msedgewebview2 caused unexpected error and the game go slow so much... Restart is the only way to fix that.
Anyone have the solution?
 

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wpcoe

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All the symptoms of a TrustedInstaller issue, you could unhide and run as the Full Administrator - but with anything like this i would only suggest trying anything on a system you can afford to lose - so have a full backup before you do anything

Another ad hoc method is to unhide the administrator and open explorer.exe using those credentials, this may allow you to move the immovable but YMMV
Using the unhidden Administrator user, whether I click on the File Explorer icon on Task Bar, or use <Win+r> and type explorer.exe, I get the same error when trying to copy or move the file to its original folder ():

1633426532159.png

I don't know how to run as TrustedInstaller (is that what you meant in the first paragraph?) so I used a third-party tool (AdvancedRun) and started two instances of explorer.exe "Run as TrustedInstaller" (one for my Desktop with the widgets.exe file and another instance of explorer.exe with the destination folder) and tried to move the file and got the same error as above.
 
Last edited:

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    external 24" Dell P2415Q
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barman58

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There are definitely some new setups, with the access around the new functionality, I suppose that's to be expected from Microsoft -

can you access the security tab for the folders you wish to move items in, when you are logged in as the Hidden Admin?

If so you may be able to add your specific user to the permissions section for the folder and give yourself full permissions. The only other way is to take ownership of the files but with Trusted installer this can be unpredictable and could cause unforeseen issues.

It may be best to run with the unwanted processes you have remaining for a short while and see what options become available Not ideal but it can happen early in the OS lifetime that new issues, even seemingly pointless ones appear, and need a new way to circumvent - but it does not normally take long ;)
 

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    NZXT C750 80 PLUS Gold 750W Modular PSU
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    i7 10750H
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    32 GB
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wpcoe

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can you access the security tab for the folders you wish to move items in, when you are logged in as the Hidden Admin?

If so you may be able to add your specific user to the permissions section for the folder and give yourself full permissions
I did that on my own administrator (lower-case a) user account after I couldn't rename the file, with no success. And, yes, I also tried it with the unhidden Administrator (upper-case A) account.

. The only other way is to take ownership of the files but with Trusted installer this can be unpredictable and could cause unforeseen issues.
I took ownership away from TrustedInstaller and gave it to my own administrator (lower-case a) user account when merely setting permissions didn't work. After you suggested using the unhidden Administrator (upper-case A) account, I tried moving the file while my user account was still the owner, and then made the hidden Administrator the owner and tried again. No dice. Is there any way to revert the ownership back to TrustedInstaller? I discovered how to revert the folder and the file back to TrustedInstaller ownership, and still can't move the file back to its original folder even in the unhidden Administrator account.

It may be best to run with the unwanted processes you have remaining for a short while and see what options become available Not ideal but it can happen early in the OS lifetime that new issues, even seemingly pointless ones appear, and need a new way to circumvent - but it does not normally take long ;)
Oh, the unwanted processes aren't running. Win11 can't find widgets.exe to run it! 😁
 
Last edited:

My Computer

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  • Operating System
    Windows 11 version 21H2( OS Build 22000.282)
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    Surface Pro 6
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    i7 8650U
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    16GB
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    external 24" Dell P2415Q
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    3840 x 2160 on external Dell, 2736 x 1824 on SP6 screen
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barman58

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The only way to reset the trusted installer ownership is by reinstalling from a backup as I mentioned in my first post.

Mods involving trustedinstaller can cause issues that cannot be reversed as you cannot log-in as the trustedinstaller user due to it being a special system user that has very high access to a small number of processes.

I don't know if returning the widgets.exe to it's original location./name would allow any further success but time is more likely to be needed
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Chillblast to my design
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5950X, 4.9GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime X570-Pro Motherboard
    Memory
    64GB DDR4 3200MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1650 Ti - HDMI, DP
    Sound Card
    On motherboard Feeding SPDiF 5.1 system
    Monitor(s) Displays
    32" UHD 32 Bit HDR Monitor + 43" UHD 4K 32Bit HDR TV
    Screen Resolution
    2 x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    1TB M2 SSD OS, 500GB Fast Access SSD, 2 x 8TB Data + Various Externals from 1TB to 4TB, 10TB NAS
    PSU
    NZXT C750 80 PLUS Gold 750W Modular PSU
    Case
    Chillblast Silent Workstation PC Case - Black
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    NZXT Kraken X63 280mm CPU Cooler, Quiet Case fans Fan
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    Wireless Logitec MX Keys + K830 [Depending on where I'm Sat]
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    Wireless Logitec - MX Master 3 + M570 Trackball
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    Samsung S9 Plus Smartphone
    Samsung Note S20
    Wacom Pro Medium Pen Pad
    Wacom Pro Small Pen Pad
    Wacom ExpressKey Remote
    Loopdeck+ Graphics Controller
    Shuttle Pro v2 Control Pad
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest release]
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 17 9700
    CPU
    i7 10750H
    Motherboard
    Stock
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Stock Intel + GTX 1650 Ti
    Sound Card
    Stock 4 speaker
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    Stock 17"
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 HDR touchscreen
    Hard Drives
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wpcoe

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The only way to reset the trusted installer ownership is by reinstalling from a backup as I mentioned in my first post.
I discovered that you can set ownership to TrustedInstaller by specifying the user as "NT System\TrustedInstalller." I had been trying just "TrustedInstaller."

Mods involving trustedinstaller can cause issues that cannot be reversed as you cannot log-in as the trustedinstaller user due to it being a special system user that has very high access to a small number of processes.

I don't know if returning the widgets.exe to it's original location./name would allow any further success but time is more likely to be needed

I have an untouched version of Win11 in a VM from the Windows Insider Program and checked the Security settings on the file in its natural home and the Security settings on each step of the folder hierarchy above it.

In the VM, the file, its containing folder and its containing folder .... all three had SYSTEM as the owner. (I garbled everything and your mention of TrustedInstaller got thrown into my mental blender to think that I needed to have TrustedInstaller as the owner. Doh.)

The three steps above that: C : \ Program Files \ WindowsApps ... *those* are TrustedInstaller, and I never touched the ownership of them.

So, I reset widgets.exe and the two steps above it to SYSTEM ownership, to match what I had in the VM, and *still* get the identical error.

Enough for now. It was an interesting investigation, but I'm going to leave it alone for a while. Thanks for all the help & feedback! 👍
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 version 21H2( OS Build 22000.282)
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Surface Pro 6
    CPU
    i7 8650U
    Memory
    16GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    external 24" Dell P2415Q
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 on external Dell, 2736 x 1824 on SP6 screen
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD
    Browser
    Vivaldi, Comodo Dragon, Edge
    Antivirus
    Avast (free version)
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