Windows 10 shows a sihost.exe System Warning

[German]Users who are updating Windows 10, or upgrading to the April Update (V1803) may run into a problem. A system warning from sihost.exe is displayed at startup and there are malfunctions.


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I need to confess, I wasn’t aware of this issue. But there are a lot of people affected, as I discovered during research. And the error has been occurring since 2015, but there are clusters to Windows 10 V1803.

The error description

Users update Windows 10 to the April Update (version 1803) released in May 2018. After that, the affected persons will no longer be able to access the system, since sihost.exe no longer works. One affected person describes as:

Sihost.exe unknown hard error since latest Windows 10 update

Hello everyone, since the latest update on Windows 10 (may 2018), I’m unable to enter on my profile on my computer. Whenever I try to start it, shows the following error message “sihost.exe unknown harderror”, then if I continue and log into my profile, comes out the next error mesage:

“location not available, can’t obtain access to
C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop Acess denied”

with the screen behind it completely black, can’t acess the start menu, internet or settings, and the only icon in the desktop it’s the recicle bin. It’s there a way to troubleshoot this? Or why is this happening? Any solutions? Or even someone who has the same issue. Thank you for your answers

That’s a big problem, of course. In the US Microsoft-Answers-Forum there is this thread with over 680 affected people and four pages of user messages. There is a photo (see following excerpt) of the sihost.exe system warning.

sihost.exe System Warning

Further screenshots are also shown in the thread, which report that the path


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C:WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop

was not available. In other words: sihost.exe cannot access the folder with the system profile of the desktop.

The sihost.exe program is the shell infrastructure host, an essential component and the file is a Windows system file.

Searching the Internet you will notice that the error occurred earlier (e.g. there is this thread from 2015). At reddit.com there is even a current thread from May 2018 and Bleeping Computer suspects tools like AVAST (see also here).

How to fix the sihost.exe error?

In Microsoft’s Answers forums it is then proposed to check the system for defective files and damage. I described this in the blog article Check and repair Windows system files and component store. But the proposal has several hooks.

  • With this error it’s no longer possible to call the command prompt window, the start menu, etc., as described above. You could try an offline check under Windows PE. Whether this helps, however, is another matter.
  • My understanding of above error message is, that the Shell Infrastructure Host (sihost.exe) still works, but cannot find the required paths to access the system profiles of the desktop. This rather indicates a configuration error in the profile or a damaged profile/user account.

The usual troubleshooting hints on the Internet do not really help me. If you browse through the MS-Answers forum posts I guess you won’t notice any real solution.

Warning: You may also come across this post when searching the internet. I can only write ‘Hands off’. The advice in Solutions 1 to 3 is not harmful, but should not work or be of little use. However, the contribution has one purpose: to lure unsuccessful users to Solution 4. The advertised tool Driver Talent should fix it. The tool won’t help, and it’s not clear what you get on the system and what that does.

If you have a lot of experience, you can try the way to repair the user account described in this blog post (from 2016). It requires copying profile files from a working system back to your broken account.

My advice is to create an installation image of Windows 10 version 1803 using Media Creation Tool (MCT). Or you can download an ISO from Microsoft’s servers (see here). Then boot from the installation media and reinstall Windows 10 V1803. However, all data and installed programs are lost. Save it beforehand (can be done under Windows PE on a USB medium).

Similar:
Windows 10 Wiki
Check and repair Windows system files and component store
How to repair Windows Performance Monitor


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