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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    I have a second computer (which is why I am able to post this) - a laptop running XP-SP2 and Zone Alarm suite that connects to the network with wireless. Today, out of the blue, it ground almost to a stop. I did some checking in Task Manager and discovered that an instance of svchost.exe (a 146 Mb instance, usename SYSTEM) was hogging the CPU - bouncing between 87 and 100%. Running a virus scan is impossible - in fact running just about anything is pretty near impossible. I took the wireless card out (in case it was bust sending stuff) and bounced the computer several times. Each time, towards the end of the startup, svchost.exe grabbed the CPU and that was all she wrote. I have a few other instances of svchost running but all are much smaller.

    The computer is really unusable as it is. Any advice out there from you who know about these sorets of things? I have hit my limited knowledge limit.

    Any help will be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    Have you tried killing the process in Task Manager? If that helps, you could run virus and spyware scans, and start investigating, for example using Autoruns.

  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    I thought of that but did a bit of reading about svchost.exe and it seems that people out there say whatever you do, don't terminate it. So I haven't.

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    In general, that is good advice, but if your computer is unusable because the process hogs the CPU...
    You can also boot into safe mode (press F8 repeatedly while starting up) to investigate.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    The Task Manager is pathetically uninformative about the nature of the particular service running under any particular instance of SVCHOST. I had a similar high CPU problem (97-99%) and installed the SysInternals Process Explorer to diagnose it. The one I found to cause problems was the networking service, particularly when it is polling for Windows Updates. What I do is yank the Ethernet cable and wait for the service to go quiet, then wait another 15 seconds, then reconnect. After that, everything is fine. So far, unfortunately, I have not figured out what is really going on during those moments and minutes that the process goes crazy.

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    Hans,
    On my XP Home machine, I have at normal five instances of svchost.exe, and if I start any graphic application, it will start the WIA (Windows Image Acquisition) service, which will run under another instance of svchost.exe, thus a total of six.

    Now, if I kill this last svchost.exe, without stopping the WIA service first all I will get is an error in the event log, since WIA stopped unexpectedly.

    Imagine what will happen if I kill the svchost.exe that runs:
    Automatic Updates
    COM+ Event System
    Computer Browser
    Cryptogrphic Services
    DHCP Client
    Distributed Link Tracking Client
    Error Reporting Service
    Help and Support
    Network Connections
    Network Location Awaraness (NLA)
    Remote Access Connection Manager
    Secondary Logon Service
    Security Center
    Server
    Shell Harware Detection
    System Event Notification
    System Restore Service
    Task Scheduler
    Telephony
    Themes
    Windows Audio
    Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
    Windows Management Instrumentation
    Windows Time
    Wireless Zero Configuration
    Workstation

    Yes, all these run under one svchost process (System username).

    I think a combination of Safe Mode checking and tests in Normal Mode with Sysinternals Process Explorer could be a way. As Jefferson mentions, Automatic Updates can take a huge amount of the CPU time. (I don't think he mean Windows Update since that is an Internet site one visit, and probably would know what is going on.) I do not use Automatic Updates, but every 6-8 weeks I turn on "Notify, but do not download" just to check. 30-60 seconds later my CPU is running on 100 % and stays so for 1-2 minutes before the little icon shows up with any updates.

    So my advice would be to try to find what service is responsible, perhaps stopping some services from running, not the whole process.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    OK, good point.

  8. #8
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: svchost.exe grabbing all the CPU

    Argus,

    For what its worth, I agree with you with one caveat - First time you boot into sage mode, check your defaults and TURN OFF all Automatic functions. Re-boot normally and see if the problem is still there. If so, then use sysinternals.

    This is how I found out my svchost causing the problem was tied to the wireless portion of my e-Machine notebook - polling for available networks automatically and would never stop. I eventually solved the problem with a BIOS update.
    Scott

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