Easy fix Microsoft Office SDX helper high CPU usage

Today while I was doing my daily routine on my computer, my fan sound increased noticeably for no reason. In my Task Manager I saw process Microsoft Office SDX Helper, taking 50% CPU (one core). I killed the process. Nothing happened. But the Microsoft Office SDX Helper has stopped working :)

So, to prevent this event from reoccurring, I decided to do some research :)

What is Microsoft Office SDX helper?

Microsoft Office SDX helper appears to be connected to a Secure Download Manager that Microsoft uses to download and update Office. If you have ever downloaded the Office installation files (which is very common in this Office365 era), this tool was probably shipped with it.
There are actually user guides that refer to the SDM

How to stop Microsoft Office SDX helper from taking high CPU?

According to many, the high CPU is rather a bug than it is on purpose to nag you. First signs of high CPU date from early 2019.

The only solution to fix it is to re-install Office 365 / Office 2016 / Office 2019. After a complete uninstallation and installation of Office, the issue will, – almost certainly-, not return.

I absolutely do NOT recommend you to prevent sdxhelper from doing its job in any way. It is used to deliver bug fixes and feature updates to your Office installation. However, if you are in a hurry, you may decide to turn it off temporarily. Read the next chapter.

How to stop Microsoft Office SDX helper from running in the background?

To stop the sdxhelper.exe from running, you can rename the application file or disable the scheduled task.

Rename the application

  1. Open Task Manager
  2. Go to tab Details
  3. Right-click SDXHelper.exe
  4. Click End process tree to stop Microsoft Office SDX Helper
  5. Open Windows Explorer
  6. Navigate to c:\program files\microsoft office\root\vfs\programfilescommonx64\microsoft shared\office16\
    (Hint: copy-paste in your location bar )
  7. Scroll down to sdxhelper.exe and rename the file to sdxhelper-renamed.old

stop sdxhelper.exe Microsoft Office SDX helper

Done! The executable cannot be found anymore and won’t run. As long as no update fixes this rename action. :)

Disable the Scheduled task

To disable the scheduled task, follow these steps:

  1. Open Task Scheduler
  2. Go to Task Scheduler Library -> Microsoft -> Office
  3. Right-click and disable these scheduled tasks:
    • Office Feature Updates
    • Office Feature Updates Logon

disable scheduled task Office SDX helper

Done! The executable will not be started from a schedule. As long as no update fixes these scheduled tasks. :)

Disable the scheduled tasks with Powershell

To disable sdxhelper.exe tasks with Powershell, follow these steps:

  1. Open Powershell as Administrator
  2. Run these commands:
    • Schtasks /change /s $_ /tn ‘\Microsoft\Office\Office Feature Updates’ /disable
    • Schtasks /change /s $_ /tn ‘\Microsoft\Office\Office Feature Updates Logon’ /disable

Disable Windows Service

Unfortunately, there is no Windows service you can disable or set to run manually

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Guest
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Guest

Most helpful info I would say, Thx

Jim Blackwood
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Jim Blackwood

I need to find out more about the high CPU and how to mitigate this (other than re-installing Office). Thanks for the well structured article.

mohammad
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mohammad

so usefull

Steven
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Steven

Thank you!

Martin Griffis
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Martin Griffis

I found “sdxhelper.exe” popping up in my “Process Lasso” log frequently for high CPU use, and a quick Google search sent me to you. Thank you for the explanation of this process. I changed the update check schedule in Task Scheduler so it only runs once per day instead of 4 or 5 times.

Jim Frey
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Jim Frey

Martin, I’m clueless when it comes to IT. Can you provide some ‘dummy instructions’ to do the same before I fling the laptop across the room? Thank you for your help!

Federico
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Federico

That’s how a good guide has to be written.