I uninstalled IrfanView(IV) as I was looking at using the portable version but immediately after that my CPU was stuck on 100% usage.

I moved all my desktop files to a single folder and narrowed down that it was "viewing" any file with an image extension that IV also replaces. This means if it's on my desktop or within an open File Explorer then my CPU hits 100%.

I've searched around and while I've read some issues relating to icons post uninstalling, I haven't found any that have this specific one.

Note that it's the thumbnails or the image extensions that cause this, everything else is safe like text files or even changing an image to a random non-image extension.

Symptoms/notes

  • 100% CPU usage when viewing any file with an image extension (e.g. .png, .jpg etc.) through the file explorer or even icons within the Settings app (e.g default apps page)
  • 100% CPU coming from service host: state repository service and windows explorer
  • Started happening when I uninstalled IrfanView for the first time
  • most sources I've read have to do with IV taking over icons like UWP apps but I don't have that issue
  • viewing images still work, even thumbnails still work - just slow because my CPU is running at capacity
  • changing default apps works but crashes


What I've tried
  • uninstalling IV
  • disk cleanup thumbnail cache (was like 800MB at the time but now it's at 50MB and still corrupted)
  • resetting default apps
  • installing IV again
  • Check show thumbnails instead of icons
  • disable thumbnails
  • can't access the full list of choose default apps by file types
  • check the registry under image extensions for shellx (doesn't exist)
  • run sfc /scannow and Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth


I'm out of ideas but I can't even clean up my laptop as the whole thing slows down if I try to open a folder with ANY image extension. Would prefer not to have to system restore as I have trouble backing up because I can't use the windows explorer properly.

Appreciate any help if you've come across this before - thanks!