Adobe CEF Helper High Memory or CPU Usage

Ever since I first laid my fingers on a keyboard, the digital world has fascinated me. It’s a world that’s bursting with endless potential, but it’s also a world that isn’t without its fair share of hiccups. Recently, I encountered a particular nuisance: the Adobe CEF Helper consuming an unjustifiable amount of memory and CPU. As a seasoned Windows user, I saw this as a new challenge, an adventure waiting to unfold. With my proverbial toolbelt and a steaming cup of coffee, I got to work.

Now, I bring you my tale of triumph over this digital glitch, in the hopes that it will help you to navigate similar waters with more confidence. So, buckle up, dear reader, as we embark on a journey of debugging and troubleshooting, all set against the grand backdrop of the Windows operating system.

1. Let’s Update Adobe:

First things first, a wise man once said, “An update a day keeps the bugs away”. So, I decided to ensure that my Adobe software was up to date. High memory or CPU usage can often be attributed to outdated software, so heading over to Adobe’s official site ( and grabbing the latest update is a good starting point.

Let's Update Adobe:


2. Reinstallation Magic:

If other troubleshooting steps have not resolved the high memory or CPU usage related to Adobe CEF Helper, reinstalling the Adobe software can sometimes resolve the issue. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform a clean reinstallation:

  1. Press the “Windows key + X” on your keyboard to open the Power User menu.
  2. From the menu, select “Apps and Features” or “Programs and Features” to open the uninstallation settings.
  3. In the Apps and Features or Programs and Features window, locate the Adobe software that is causing the high memory or CPU usage.
  4. Click on the Adobe software name, and then select the “Uninstall” or “Uninstall/Change” button.
  5. Follow the prompts to complete the uninstallation process. Make sure to select any options that remove preferences or settings during the uninstallation to ensure a clean uninstall.
  6. After the uninstallation is complete, restart your computer.
  7. Visit the official Adobe website ( and download the latest version of the software you uninstalled.
  8. Once the download is complete, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall Adobe on your system.
  9. After the installation is finished, restart your computer once again.

By following these detailed steps for tweaking Adobe’s settings, fiddling with Windows settings, and performing a clean reinstallation, you will be well-equipped to tackle high memory or CPU usage caused by the Adobe CEF Helper. Remember, each step is a small victory on your path to smoother performance and a more enjoyable digital experience.

Reinstallation Magic:

3. A Brush With the Task Manager:

My next move was to take a trip into the Task Manager. I spotted Adobe CEF Helper in the ‘Processes’ tab, where I could clearly see it hogging memory and CPU. Right-clicking and selecting ‘End Task’ brought temporary relief, but I knew a more permanent solution was needed.

A Brush With the Task Manager:

4. Tweaking with Adobe’s Settings:

When it comes to troubleshooting high memory or CPU usage caused by Adobe CEF Helper, making some adjustments within the Adobe software itself can prove beneficial. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to tweak Adobe’s settings:

  1. Launch any Adobe software that you have installed on your system, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Acrobat.
  2. Once the application is open, navigate to the “Edit” menu at the top (for Windows) or the application menu (e.g., Photoshop menu for Photoshop users on macOS).
  3. From the drop-down menu, select “Preferences” (Windows) or “Preferences” or “Settings” (macOS) to access the settings panel.
  4. In the preferences/settings panel, look for an option related to performance or hardware acceleration. This may vary slightly depending on the Adobe application you are using.
  5. Locate and uncheck the option that says “Use hardware acceleration when available” or similar wording. Enabling this option utilizes your computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) to accelerate certain tasks, but it can also contribute to higher memory and CPU usage.
  6. Save the changes by clicking on the “OK” or “Apply” button in the preferences/settings panel.
  7. Restart the Adobe application to ensure the changes take effect.

5. Fiddling with Windows Settings:

Windows operating systems offer various settings that can be adjusted to optimize performance and reduce unnecessary resource consumption. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fiddle with Windows settings to potentially alleviate high memory or CPU usage:

  1. Right-click on the “Start” button (Windows logo) located in the taskbar.
  2. From the context menu that appears, select “System” or “System Properties” to access the system settings.
  3. In the system settings window, click on the “Advanced system settings” link. This will open the System Properties dialog box.
  4. Within the System Properties dialog box, navigate to the “Advanced” tab.
  5. Under the “Performance” section, click on the “Settings” button. This will open the Performance Options window.
  6. In the Performance Options window, ensure that the “Visual Effects” tab is selected.
  7. Here, you have two options: a. If you prefer performance over visual effects, select the radio button for “Adjust for best performance.” This will disable visual effects, such as animations and transparency, but can significantly reduce memory and CPU usage. b. If you want to keep some visual effects while still optimizing performance, choose the “Custom” option. Then, individually select the visual effects you want to enable or disable by checking or unchecking the respective boxes.
  8. Click on the “Apply” button to save the changes, and then click “OK” to close the Performance Options window.
  9. Restart your computer to allow the changes to take effect.

6. The Virtual Memory Trick

What is Virtual Memory? Virtual memory is a feature of an operating system which uses a portion of your hard drive to effectively “emulate” RAM. When your system runs out of physical RAM, the operating system shifts data to this virtual space, which is slower than actual RAM but allows your system to handle more tasks simultaneously.

Why Adjust Virtual Memory? When applications like Adobe’s tools demand a high amount of memory, sometimes adjusting the size of the virtual memory can enhance performance, especially if your system is consistently running out of physical RAM.

How to Adjust Virtual Memory in Windows:

  1. Right-click on the “Start” button, then select “System.”
  2. In the System window, click on “Advanced system settings” on the left side.
  3. Under the “Advanced” tab, find the “Performance” section and click on “Settings.”
  4. Navigate to the “Advanced” tab again and, under the “Virtual memory” section, click “Change…”
  5. Uncheck the box that says, “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.”
  6. Select your system drive (usually C:), then choose “Custom size.” Here, you can increase the initial size (based on your available hard drive space) and the maximum size.
  7. After adjusting, click “Set”, then “OK” to apply changes.

It’s important to note that while increasing virtual memory can help in situations where physical RAM is limited, it’s not a replacement for more RAM. Relying too heavily on virtual memory can slow down your system since accessing the hard drive is much slower than accessing RAM.

7. Rolling Back Updates

Why Roll Back Updates? Not all updates are flawless. Sometimes, a newly introduced feature or code can inadvertently introduce bugs, incompatibilities, or performance issues. Rolling back an update essentially means reverting to an older, potentially more stable version of the software.

How to Roll Back Updates for Adobe Programs:

  1. Using Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application:
    • Open the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop application.
    • Navigate to the “Apps” tab.
    • Find the application you want to revert.
    • Click on the three dots (or ellipsis) next to the application name.
    • From the dropdown, select “Other Versions.”
    • You will see a list of previous versions. Choose the version you want to revert to and click “Install.”
  2. Using System Restore (Windows):
    • This is a more drastic measure and would affect other software updates too. It’s recommended when you know a specific system update is causing Adobe’s issues.
    • Type “create a restore point” in the Windows search bar and select the respective result.
    • In the “System Properties” window, click on the “System Restore” button.
    • Follow the on-screen prompts to select a restore point from before the problematic update was installed.
  3. Manually Uninstall and Reinstall:
    • As a last resort, if neither of the above methods work or are suitable, you can manually uninstall the current version of the Adobe software and then download and install the older version from Adobe’s official website or your account.

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Benjamin Johnson

Hey there, I'm Ben, the tech-savvy Founder and CEO of I've dedicated my life to helping fellow Windows users optimize their PCs for peak performance. Join me on this journey as we unlock the full potential of your Windows devices together!

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