Have you ever wondered what all those svchost.exe processes running on your Windows machine are for ? Ever thought what effect will it have on your system, if you kill them ?
If you haven’t or aren’t too sure how to check for running processes on your system, press Ctrl + Alt + Del and a utility named Task Manager will popup. The Processes tab of Task Manager should give you a list of all the processes running on your system and this is where you’ll see multiple svchost.exe processes, along with the rest of the processes running on your system.
The svchost processes have, until now, been a mystery to me. I mean, I don’t remember starting them, I definitely don’t use them but there they are using precious memory on my machine and making me feel helpless. The helplessness got to me and I had to do something about it, or at least find out what purpose svchost.exe plays in the grand order of things.
I did some research and came across a Microsoft article which says that
Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs).
This gibberish basically means that svchost.exe is a utility used to load System services which require DLL files. I know that is oversimplifying things, but that should be enough for most people.
Since I was more curious and wanted to see the services that each svchost instance was responsible, I googled for tools which would give me this info and came across Svchost viewer.
Svchost viewer is a simple and useful utility that analyzes your system for all running instances of svchost.exe and tell you the services each instance is responsible for.
It’ll also tell you the amount of memory each instance of svchost is consuming and the number of threads that it has open.
When you first start Svchost Viewer, it’ll take a couple of seconds to analyze your system and will then display all the running instances of the svchost.exe process, followed by their process ID in a tree like structure.
Click on any one individual process you’ll be able to see more data about the process, like the number of services it is responsible for, number of active threads it has and the amount of memory that is being consumed by the process. Expand the tree and you will be able to see more information about the individual services along with a handy description of the process.
The best thing about Svchost viewer is that it doesn’t even require an install. It comes as a self contained executable and can be run from a USB flash drive if required. Very handy when you want to use it for troubleshooting on a friend’s computer.
Svchost viewer is an excellent utility to have around and probe a little deeper into the inner workings of the operating system. It might even be helpful when you are looking to save some previous RAM and want to see the services that are taking up the most of it and can be killed safely.