What Is “wsappx” and Why Is It Running on My PC?

The “wsappx” process is part of Windows 8 and 10, and you may see it running in the background or even using a significant amount of CPU and disk resources. It’s related to the Windows Store and Microsoft’s new “Universal” app platform.

This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Task Manager, like Runtime Brokersvchost.exedwm.exectfmon.exerundll32.exeAdobe_Updater.exe, and many others. Don’t know what those services are? Better start reading!

What Is wsappx?

The wsappx process includes two seperate background services. On both Windows 8 and 10, wsappx includes the AppX Deployment Service (AppXSVC). On Windows 10, you’ll also see the Client License Service (ClipSVC). On Windows 8, you’ll also see the Windows Store Service (WSService) instead of ClipSVC.

If you see the wsappx process running in your Task Manager, expand it and you’ll see one or both of the two subservices running (depending on which version of Windows you’re using). These services handle installing, removing, and updating Store apps, as well as ensuring they’re properly licensed.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these services.

What Is AppX Deployment Service (AppXSVC)?

The AppX Deployment Service “deploys” Store apps. Those “Universal Windows Platform” apps are distributed in .AppX packages, hence the name.

In other words, this process is used for installing, uninstalling, and updating Store apps. Windows automatically updates Store apps in the background, and many of the apps included with Windows—from Mail to Paint 3D—fall into this category.

Traditional Windows desktop apps use CPU and disk resources when you install, remove, or update them, too. The only difference is that, when working with Store apps, you see the resources used by AppXSVC instead of the individual program’s installer.

If you see this process running when you aren’t installing apps—and even if you never use those apps—it’s because Windows is updating them in the background. That also explains why you may sometimes see this process using CPU and disk resources in the background.

What Is Client License Service (ClipSVC)?

On Windows 10, the ClipSVC background service handles “infrastructure support” for the Store. According to Microsoft, apps bought from the Store on your system “will not behave correctly” if you disable it.

This service likely does a number of different things that enable Store apps to run properly. According to its name, its duties include license management, which ensures you can only run Store apps you’ve paid for. That’s an anti-piracy feature. Aside from that, Microsoft hasn’t explained what other features this service provides to Store apps.

What Is Windows Store Service (WSService)?

On Windows 8, the WSService background service also handles “infrastructure support” for the Store. In fact, the ClipSVC service on Windows 10 and WSService service on Windows 8 have essentially identical descriptions in the Services interface.

The WSService process seems to be basically the same thing as ClipSVC. It’s just named something different on Windows 8. You won’t see the WSService process on Windows 10.

Why Is It Using So Much CPU?

The wsappx service generally only uses a noticeable amount of CPU when your PC is installing, uninstalling, or updating Store apps. This may be because you have chosen to install or uninstall an app, or because the Store is automatically updating the apps on your system.

If you really don’t care about these included apps, you can tell the Windows Store not to automatically update your apps. To do so, launch the Store, click your user icon at the top right corner of the window, and then select the “Settings” option. Set the “Update apps automatically” slider to the “Off” position.

When you want to update your apps, you can return to the Store, click your user profile icon, and select the “Downloads and updates” option. This screen displays any updates for your installed apps and allows you to install them.

This solution prevents the wsappx service from using CPU to update apps in the background, although you won’t automatically get the latest app updates. When you manually update apps, you’ll still use system resources like CPU and RAM, but at least you get to choose when they’re used.

Microsoft frequently updates the apps included with Windows—including Mail, Movies & TV, OneNote, Photos, and Calculator—so we don’t recommend disabling this feature if you use any of them.

Can I Disable It?

You can’t disable these processes. They don’t automatically run in the background. They launch as needed, and close when they aren’t needed. For example, launch a Store app and you’ll see ClipSVC appear. Launch the Windows Store itself and you’ll see AppXSVC appear. Install or uninstall an app and you’ll see AppX using some system resources to complete the process.

If you try to kill the wsappx process from Task Manager, Windows warns you that your system will become unusable or shut down. There’s also no way to forcibly disable wsappx in the Services utility.

Even if you could prevent these processes from running, you wouldn’t want to. They’re a critical part of Windows 10. They only run when necessary, and use very few system resources most of the time. They’ll only use system resources when you install, uninstall, or update a Store app—and you can tell Windows not to do that in the background, if you like.

Is It a Virus?

The wsappx software is a part of Windows 10 itself. We haven’t seen any reports of malware disguising itself as the wsappx, AppXSVC, ClipSVC, or WSService processes. However, if you’re concerned about malware, it’s always a good idea to run a scan with your preferred antivirus program to check your system for anything dangerous.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.