What is svchost.exe in Windows? Multiple instances, high system resources utilization explained

What is svchost.exe in Windows? Why do I see multiple instances of svchost.exe processes running in my Task Manager? How do I find out basic information like the name and description for each svchost process? Why is svchost.exe constantly running? This article will attempt to answer these questions.

What is svchost.exe in Windows

Svchost stands for Service Host. It is a .exe executable operating system critical file which is located in the System32 folder. When Windows starts up, it checks the Windows Registry and makes a list of Services or group of Services that it has to load.

You, therefore, see multiple such svchost.exe running at the same time. This grouping of services also assists in better control and debugging should the need arise. Services run in svchost are implemented as dynamically-linked libraries or dll files.

Multiple instances of svchost.exe processes

You can see all these svchost.exe groups under the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Svchost

svchost.exe registry

To view the list of services that are running in Svchost, open an instance of the command prompt, type Tasklist /SVC and hit Enter.

svchost.exe high resource utilization

Many times svchost.exe may show high resource utilization. Although it is difficult to isolate the service responsible for this, since many services are associated with this process, the built-in Resource Monitor or SysInternals process Explorer will help you in that direction.

To see which svchost is associated with which single or multiple Service, right-click on the svchost.exe and select Go to Service(s).

In the Services tab, you will now be able to see the associated services, highlighted.

svchost.exe

But this does not give you much information. If you need to know more details like the name and description for each svchost process, you can download use freeware portable app Svchost Viewer.

This tool gives you some basic information like the name and description of the services with a particular svchost process. It gives you information like:

  • Process ID
  • Amount of data written or read
  • Name of Service, Service type, Start mode, Status
  • Whether the service can be paused or stopped
  • A brief description of the Service.

It also lets you stop or pause select services where possible and even lets you access the Service Manager directly.

If you want to reduce the instances of svchost processes, the only way to do it is by reducing the services which start-up automatically. If you want to disable services you may want to check out our Windows Services Tweaker. But I advise that you do so, only if you know what you are doing.

Want to know about these processes? Shellexperiencehost.exe | RuntimeBroker.exe | TrustedInstaller.exe | Host Process for Windows Tasks.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.