Windows 10: Temp folder under ‘appdata’ creating folder with “DismHost.exe” every 4 minutes

Are you experiencing problems with no free disk space in Windows 10? The Temp folder under “%appdata\Local\Temp” is suddenly filled with random GUID-named folders with the same content, a lot of DLL’s and “DismHost.exe”. After a lot of testing, I found a solution, other than clean install, which seems to correct the issue.

Some explaination

So this has been an issue for me in a bunch of computers at work. It started after Windows 10 was updated on them, and has been a problem since. After reading through a lot of forums I did find that this was a common problem, but that none had a definite solution to how you could stop it. I found some threads regarding Windows 8.1, and they pointed me to Task Scheduler being the issue. Under “Disk Cleanup” and “Windows Defender” there were processes that didn’t stop properly, and it leaves ~8MB folders in “Temp” every 4 minutes.

Then I found a thread on Microsoft Community that described my exact same problem, and I recognised the same Task Scheduler generated tasks were failing. They could be run if I started them manually, but it was just a temporary fix. The same with disabling them, an update would re-enable the tasks, and the problem would be back.

I contacted Microsoft and had a case opened where a level-1 technician looked at the computer. After running all the standard “checks” with SFC scan etc, he still couldn’t fix the problem. The next day we tried again, I referred to my case number, but still had to go through a lot of the same things with another technician, which in the end promised me to elevate the issue, and assured me that a level-2 technician would help the next time. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, and I got in contact with a third technician.

After going through a lot of the same steps, he told me that the problem was that I didn’t have enough disk space, as I only had 56GB (we have a separate partition for data), and that DISM would fail if I had less than 250GB. I told him straight out that this makes no sense – at all! He continued to say that DISM won’t work if you have less than 250GB of storage, which I replied that Windows 10 x64 has a 20GB disk space requirement, this has nothing to do with anything. The technicians kept focusing on “DismHost”, instead of trying to find the root problem for why it is copied, and why the scheduled tasks for Windows Defender and Disk Cleanup had anything to do with it.

After trying all the basic steps, the last technician told me to reinstall my computer. I already did that I told him, to no avail. So then he said a clean install is the best solution in this case, I could re-download all the HP software for the computer if I wanted to. He didn’t understand that this would potentially mean clean installing 100 computers, and this NOT being a “solution” at all to the problem. After a while he said they had a “fix tool” which would work its magic on my computer and compare all the files and settings and correct any problem…

I had no idea what he was talking about, and why nobody had said anything before, but it turned out that the “magic tool” was Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. I felt like I was being played with when he said that this wasn’t for Windows 10, it’s a tool for fixing the computer. He didn’t explain exactly how this would help, but told me to run it, and contact them afterwards if there were any problems.

Anyways, I went through with it, and basically what’s going to happen, is that the Media Creation Tool will download everything needed to update Windows 10 (again), and “re-apply” Windows 10. This didn’t make any sense for me at first, but in the end this turned out to be the solution to the problem. Basically you’re re-downloading the Windows 10 system files, and incorporating them to your Windows 10 system image, meaning you’re actually fixing the image being used when reinstalling, or “resetting” Windows 10. Like I said, I had already tried a reinstall/reset to factory, but this didn’t work – because the image it is basing the reset on has errors.

How to fix it

  1. Clear the temp folder
  2. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
  3. Run the tool, as if you were upgrading to Windows 10

Done!

You will not lose any files, you will probably not notice any differences at all, but at least for me, on the three computers I tested, the problem has now been solved. I also checked the Task Scheduler entries, and they were running as normally. You might have to “kick-start” Windows Defender by updating the definitions to the latest, but I didn’t have any issues.

I do not understand why Microsoft couldn’t be clearer on this, as it is a simple fix, and it works! Reinstalling/resetting Windows 10 does not make a difference, because it is using the same system files. SFC /scannow does not find any issues.

In the end this is the only solution I have found to the problem, which does not involve clean-installing the whole computer. The only thing I can think of that has started this problem, is that it has something to do with how the computer was updated and configured before Windows 10, and that the issue will remain because there are some permission mismatches, some updates/fixes missing, it is very hard to figure out where the problem actually is. All I know is that re-running Windows 10 upgrade fixes it, and the only reason why I haven’t tried this before, is that I had no idea you could re-apply the update!

Hope this helps any other Windows 10 users in the same boat.

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