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Wsappx in Windows – What is it and is it safe?

Wsappx in Windows - What is it and is it safe?

Windows 10 is the first version of the operating system where it is entirely possible to ignore everything behind the scenes and just use it. No need to mess with settings, change registry entries, disable features or any of that. Boot up, load Windows and do whatever you need to do. If you are one of those who like to check under the hood, you may have noticed a service called Wsappx. What is Wsappx and is it safe to use?

There are literally hundreds of services in Windows. Depending on how your computer is set up, many will be running and many may not. If Wsappx is running on your system, is it anything to worry about?

What is Wsappx?

Wsappx first appeared in Windows 8 and is also present in Windows 10. It is a Windows Store process. It is split into two services, AppX Deployment Service, AppXSVC and Client License Service, ClipSVC. These manage the deployment of Windows Store apps and are part of Microsoft’s new Universal Apps platform.

Universal Windows Apps, or UWP, is a relatively new system of delivering apps. It allows the same app to be deployed across any Windows device. That could be desktop, server, mobile, tablet or something else. As long as the hardware is capable of loading and running the app, it can be a UWP app. The idea is to simplify life for both developers and users by guaranteeing almost universal compatibility across the entire Windows estate.

The AppX Deployment Service manages the installation and updating of Windows apps.

The Client License Service ensures the app is legitimate and has not been tampered with and also acts as an anti-piracy check. It ensures any paid apps have actually been paid for and will not allow a pirated app to load.

Is Wsappx safe?

In short, Wsappx is perfectly safe. It is part of Windows, is a legitimate process that contains to legitimate services and is safe to be on your computer. In fact, not having it present on your computer can cause problems with Windows Store apps. As one service keeps apps updated and the other checks licenses, if one or the other service cannot perform its role, that app can crash.

If your malware scanner or antivirus program picks up Wsappx as a problem it is likely a false positive. Most reliable security suites whitelist essential Windows apps so this should never happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t though so you may see it flagged as an issue.

It is best to leave Wsappx alone and let it do its work. It generally stays out of the way and does not interfere with the operation of your device. Occasionally though it can cause high CPU or disk usage.

Wsappx causing high CPU and disk usage

There have been instances when Wsappx has caused a CPU to spike to 100% or caused the hard drive to do the same. Sometimes it has been both at once. This is now rare as Microsoft have optimized the Windows Store and the Wsappx process to not do that but I still see instances of it occasionally.

If you’re seeing this, you have a few options.

  • You can leave it to work and continue using your computer once it has finished its task.
  • You can shut down Windows Store or the Store app you were using.
  • You can reboot your device to restore functionality.
  • You can find out what app is being updated and delete it if you’re not using it.

Usually, Wsappx will only spike resources when updating an app. You can turn off automatic app updates but I don’t recommend it. Apps are updated to add extra security and usability as well as new functions and features so you should ideally keep them updated. The Windows Store has improved immensely over the past five years and has enforced quality and compatibility standards so you should rarely see an app misbehave.

If you do and it causes problems or causes Wsappx to spike, do this:

  1. Right click the Windows Task Bar and select Task Manager.
  2. Isolate the app utilizing the CPU or hard disk.
  3. Right click it and select End task.

Open that app again and see if it misbehaves again. If it works normally, leave it alone. If it causes utilization issues again, uninstall it. If you like the app you can go to the store and install a fresh copy of the already updated app. It should work properly now. Otherwise, find an alternative app or live without it.

It is rare that you should ever notice Wsappx let alone see it cause problems. If it does, at least you now know what it is and how to fix it!

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Apr 6, 2018

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