What is svchost.exe: Guide

What Is SvcHost

If you’re wondering what is a svchost.exe file and why are there so many of them running at the same time, we’ve got just the answer for that. Also denoted as SvcHost or Service Host, it is a Windows executable system process that clubs in a number of services which are unable to run independently. Over the years, Microsoft has shifted most .exe (executable) services into the dynamic-link library (.dll) format. And since these files can no longer be executed in Windows that is, without the help of a host, svchost.exe was introduced to take on the job. If you’re wondering why is there a need for multiple files to run at the same time, that’s mostly because if all services were incorporated within one executable, a failure or crash in a particular service would bring down the entire process as well and also cause a disruption to the PC’s performance. To prevent this from even happening, each of these files hosts a group of services that are related with each other. To know more on what is svchost.exe and which services it runs, check out our guide below.

Locating the executable –

SvcHost System 32

If you’re wondering where the file is located, then navigate to %SystemRoot%\System32 from the run command or you can also browse there manually by entering your system drive (in most cases C), Windows then further the System32 folder and look out for svchost.exe. If you’ve ever noticed, the process is already running at the start of the computer. That’s because when the PC boots up, .exe file automatically scans certain parts of the registry like ‘Services,’ and creates a list of all services required for proper functionality. However, terminating any of these processes from the Task Manager would lead to errors based on the service the executable has loaded. For an example, we ended one task and found that our volume controls have been completely disabled.

SvcHost Error

Identifying which services are running –

To know which services are presently running through the svchost executable, there are three ways.

SvcHost CMD

1. Through CMD (Command Prompt) – By selecting the Run program from the Start Menu or through the Start button + R key combination, type in CMD and hit ‘Enter’ to bring up the command prompt. Further on, typing ‘Tasklist /SVC’ without the inverted comma will bring up a list of processes. With each executable name specified on the left, the services that they’re currently running are located on the right.

SvcHost Regedit

2. Within the registry – In this method, click on start, then select the Run program. To move on we require the registry editor so, type regedit.exe into the text field and hit on ‘Enter.’ Now navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Svchost, in which all services that run in the svchost executable are located.

Process Explorer

3. Additionally, you can also check the list of services running through third-party apps like Process Explorer which is available from the Windows Sysinternals website. Through this tool, you can identify each service and also stop or restart them.

Stopping a service –

SvcHost Service Properties

Stopping or even pausing specific services are also possible. Once identified, launch services.msc from the Run program, after which a detailed list of all services will be provided alongside complete descriptions. To put a halt on any process, simple select it and click ‘Stop’ from the upper left of the screen. Or, you can permanently end the service by right clicking on the desired one, select properties and further ‘Disable’ under the Startup type dropdown menu.

SvcHost Disable

Svchost.exe is a virus?

SvcHost Virus

The answer to that question is yes and no. To put it in simple terms, Windows allows multiple processes to run with the same name. Taking advantage of this, viruses like malware normally camouflage themselves as a system process and attack the computer. Svchost.exe viruses are common and at times carry the name scvhost.exe (notice the change in the name) which makes it difficult to identify. However, the original .exe always operates as a system file, network service or local service. Any other process with an Administrator prefix is clearly a virus.

So now that we’ve cleared out exactly what is svchost.exe as well as methods to identify services and also put an end to them, there’s shouldn’t be any room left for worries. If our guide was of any help, do let us know.