Host Process for Windows Services or svchost.exe is a system process that runs in the background. If you’ve seen them in Task Manager or other applications, you’re probably curious, especially since Task Manager shows many of these processes running at the same time.
You may also experience some problems with this process, such as high consumption of internet bandwidth or other system resources. In this article, I will discuss what this process actually is and provide solutions to the problem.
What is the Host Process for Windows Services (Svchost.exe)?
Host Process for Windows Services or svchost.exe is, as the name suggests, a system process that hosts Windows services. In newer Windows systems, you will also find this process as a Service Host.
Unlike Programs, services do not run processes independently and are actually part of some Dynamic Link Library (DLL ) files on your system. Each service is associated with a different type of Windows process.
By default, services only need to be started if your system is running another process (service or program) that requires the service. They also have different Startup types which help control when your system needs to run.
The Host Process for Windows Services acts as a shell or host process to load services whenever needed depending on their configuration.
Why Are There So Many Service Host Processes?
Windows Services can run under three different user groups—Local System, Local Services, and Network Services. Also, services running under Local System and Local Service may or may not require full or limited network access. So services can be classified into six individual groups based on this property.
Previously, one svchost.exe was usually responsible for one category or classification of services to save system memory resources. However, the complete svchost.exe with all its services can fail if a single service running under this process encounters some problems.
So, after Windows 10 version 1703 and on computers with 3.5GB+ RAM, each service has started running in its own svhcost.exe process. This is why you will see many of these processes running on your system.
Is Svchost.exe a Virus?
The legitimate Svchost.exe is a system process and not a virus. The current security on Windows systems is also good enough that it is impossible for a virus to infect this process.
However, malware authors can create viruses with similar names like svchosl.exe or svchosts.exe and infect your system. Or they might create malware with the name svchost.exe that runs from some other location on your system. Similarly, the actual svchost.exe process can only run under a certain username.
So, you can use the following steps to check whether the process is legit or not.
In Task Manager, if you are on the Processes tab, right click on the Service Host process you want to check and select it Go to details. If you are already on the Details tab, you can proceed to step 2. Check process nameas well as Usernameher carefully. It shouldn’t be running under your user account or anything other than LOCAL SERVICE or NETWORK SERVICES or SYSTEM. Right click on svchost.exe and select it Open the file location. It should open to C:\Windows\System32 or C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and navigate to the svchost.exe file.
If any of the checks does not return the required results, the process may be a malware process. In this case, you need to scan your computer with Windows Defender (Virus & threat protection) or another antivirus to secure your system.
Can I Disable or End Service Host?
The Service Host Process always runs essential services on your system. So the legitimate svchost.exe is not a process you want to force close. In fact, if you ever try to do this, you’ll receive a message prompt stating “Ending this process will cause Windows to become unstable or to shut down.”
It is possible to check the box “Ignore unsaved data and turn it off” and click Shut down to close the process. If you just end svchost.exe for some less important services, it won’t affect your system too much. They can even restart automatically. However, if running a critical service, your system will force shutdown or get a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) error.
So, it is never recommended to manually disable or end Service Host or Host Process for Windows Service processes.
Fix Service Host Using Internet Bandwidth or Other Computer Resources
The Service Host is just a shell process, so it’s actually the services in this process that use up internet bandwidth or other kinds of computer resources. In this case, the only solution is to find the right service or relevant application that depends on that service and close it.
Disable Some Services
Usually, this problem occurs when some services working in the background are using internet data. For example, your system might download Windows Update files from other computers on the same network or from Microsoft’s own servers. In such a case, you can disable some non-critical services that won’t get in the way of your system blocking those background activities.
Open Run by pressing Windows + R. Type services.msc and press Enter to open Windows Service. Look for the following services: Background Intelligent Transfer Service Delivery Optimization sysmain Double click on these services to open their Properties. Set Start type to Non-activeand choose Stop. Click apply And OK.
Notes: Bear in mind that Windows Update relies on the Background Intelligent Transfer Service. So, if you disable this service, automatic update will not work.
You can also use Task Manager to see which services under Service Host or Host Process for Windows Services are using Internet Bandwidth and then troubleshoot that.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. On tabs Process scroll down to Windows process. Search processes Service Hosts or svchost.exe which shows the most Network usage. Check the name or expand it to determine the service responsible. Then, you can try disabling it from Windows Services.
If a service’s Startup type is greyed out, this is a critical service, and thus Windows itself does not allow its disabling of this application. While it is still possible to do this using Registry Editor, you shouldn’t do it, as it will harm your system.
If you can disable a service, but it’s a service you need (check the service description for more), you’ll need to find a specific solution for the right service.
Check Process Explorer
If the associated service is a critical one that you can’t or don’t want to disable or disabling doesn’t help, it’s better to run Process Explorer and see which process is using the service under the svchost.exe process.
Process Explorer is an additional resource provided by Microsoft as a Sysinternals utility. It is similar to the Task Manager but can also show all associated processes, DLLs and workarounds for individual programs. Here’s how you can use it in this case:
First, note down the proper service via Task Manager. Download and extract Process Explorer from Microsoft Sysinternals. Open the Process Explorer folder and run procexp.exe or procexp64.exe as admin. You need to right-click the executable file and select Run as administrator to do it. The program must list the processes in a tree structure. Otherwise, click Look > Show Process Tree. Hover over each svchost.exe. It will show the services currently running by that particular instance. Browse for the instance running the service you view from Task Manager. Look for all programs under this svchost.exe Right click one of the programs and select it Suspend to pause the process. Make sure to right-click the suspended process again and select Continue after you have completed troubleshooting. Check the network usage impact in Task Manager. Repeat this process for all programs under the particular svchost.exe process in Process Explorer until you can determine which process is using network resources.
After that, disable or uninstall the app to solve your problem.
Fix “Host Process for Windows Service Has Stopped Working”
You will get the “Host Process for Windows Service has stopped working” error message when any of the various services or programs running under svchost.exe suddenly stop working due to any problem.
In a normal scenario, this error occurs for temporary reasons, and you won’t see it the next time, or restarting is enough to solve it. However, if a component fails due to a severe cause, this error will appear frequently or on every login.
Check the Event Log
Various programs and services related to the Service Host process may stop working for different reasons. So you should first use Event Viewer or Reliability Monitor to examine the event log and determine which process failed. Here, I’ll be using the Reliability Monitor.
Open Run. Type perfmon/rel and hit Enter to open this application. Click on the day you experienced this error on the chart. Search Host process for Windows Services and double click. Check FaultModuleName to determine which system file or component failed. Search the internet to find relevant apps or services.
If it matches the driver, you need to update it. If it is an application, you can reinstall or update the application. For other system files and services, the only option is to try to repair the corrupted files using SFC or DISM.
Some updates may also bring accidental bugs that cause conflicts with some svchost.exe services or processes and stop them from working properly. So it is best to have your system fully updated to prevent such problems.
Windows also rolls out updates for device drivers via Windows Update. So you definitely need to look for updates if the error module is device or driver related.
Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Open Windows update or Update & Security > Windows update. Click Check for updates if the option is available. After a list of available updates, click on it Install now.
Run SFC and DISM
Most of the DLL files run by the svchost.exe process are system files. So if any component is failing, you may be able to fix it using the System File Checker and Deployment Image Service and Management tools.
Go to Run. Type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Elevated Command Prompt. Type the commands below and press Enter after each one to run them. dism/online/cleanup-image/restorehealth sfc/scannow
Fix “Host Process for Windows Service Using Microphone”
If you see the message In use under Host Process for Windows Services in the Microphone Privacy settings, it indicates that your system is listening to the Microphone. You should go to the relevant settings and disable them in such cases.
Go to Run. Type mmsys.cpl and click OK to open the Sound options. Open options Record tab and double click on device Microphone current (with a tick). Open tabs Listen . Uncheck Listen to this device. Click OK.
Thus the article about What is Host Process for Windows Services? (Complete Guide)
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