svchost.exe: Virus, Malware Or Safe? Should You Remove it?

Should you remove the svchost.exe file from your computer? It is spyware, a trojan, or a virus, or could it be a legitimate file keeping things neat? We investigate.

What is svchost.exe?

caution symbol with svchostexe in background

The svchost.exe (Service Host) file refers to an essential, generic, and legitimate system process by Microsoft in the Windows operating system. This service host file loads a good number of critical services that allow the proper running of Windows.

Even with this information, it’s clear that the unknown background functions run by this file eat up a lot of the CPU power. In fact, svchost.exe could be eating up as much as 99% of your CPU power.

So, to answer the first question above – no, you shouldn’t remove the svchost.exe file from your computer. But if it isn’t some type of malware, spyware, virus, or Trojan, what exactly does it do and what can you about its high power consumption?

Is svchost.exe Safe?

svchost, Service Host, as its name suggests, hosts Microsoft services. In Windows, a service represents a program in an operating system that runs in the background all the time, as long as your computer is on, to ensure that everything else is peachy. 

Therefore, svchost.exe is safe, as long as you ensure that there are no viruses or spyware affected the files, and by extension your computer’s performance.

How to find the svchost.exe?

While most of the programs you are familiar with come as standalone and executable EXE files, other programs in the task manager are implemented as DLLs and DLLs cannot run on their own. Unlike those other programs, svchost will load all the DLLs then run the programs on itself.

From a programming standpoint, Microsoft made a number of changes to their functionalities that relied on the internal windows services previously running from the EXE files, to the DLL files. This change made code a lot more reusable, and even easier to keep it up to date.

But since you cannot launch the DLL file from Windows directly, and as you would an executable file, you will have a shell loaded from the executable file used to host the DLL services. All these processes for service hosts led to svchost.exe.

Essentially, you will have more than one DLL file running at a time. Therefore, when you open the taskbar or the Services section of your Control Panel, you will see several Windows services, among them a number of svchost.exe files and processes running concurrently.

Having more than one of the Service Host files running is a contingency plan to ensure that everything runs well, and according to plan meaning that failure of one file doesn’t affect the others and you don’t have to worry about Windows going down.

For example, a service host could be created to host different logical groups if the services are organized logically into somewhat related groups. In such a case, one service host will run all the three services that relate to a firewall. 

When is svchost.exe not safe?

With a big number of svchost.exe files running at once, it means that the files are using a lot of CPU power and this can be a bad thing if you need a lot of work done fast. So, how do you deal with these files when they are hogging on not just your CPU, but also on your memory resources?

Before we look at some of the solutions you could try, we need first to mention that the reason for svchost.exe file’s high power usage stems for the infection of a computer with malware of a virus program. 

In other cases, the high CPU usage of the extensive memory leaks results from Windows Updates, full event log files, or even other services or programs that start too many processes during the execution of the svchost.exe files. 

How do I resolve/ Remove svchost.exe Issues? 

task manager showing svchostexe

How to Solve the High-CPU Usage and Memory Leakage Problems

Remedy 1 – Scan Computer for Viruses

With viruses as the leading culprits for the CPU over usage and memory leaks, running a malware scan is essential. All you need for this to happen is the best malware scan and removal tool that will check then remove any viruses and/ or malicious programs running on your computer.

Remedy 2 – Emptying the Event Viewer Log

The second way of getting under control the high memory or CPU problem involves checking your large log files. The Windows Event Viewer makes this possible.

  • Press the Windows Key + R simultaneously to open up the command box. In the command box, type in eventvwr then press Enter.
  • In your now open event viewer, double click it to expand your Windows logs. 
  • Next, right-click on the program/ application you are interested in then select Clear Log. 
  • Repeat these steps to clear the setup, security, and system logs.
  • Don’t forget to restart your computer.

  Remedy 3 – The Identification and Disabling of Services Causing the High svchost High CPU Usage

Since most other programs rely on the efficient running of the svchost.exe processes, you need to make sure that none of these programs are hogging on the CPU’s power or eating up your resources. Here are the steps you should take to identify and resolve the svchost.exe file issues:

  1. While pressing Ctlr+Alt+Del keys down, open your task manager simultaneously.
  2. Go to the Processes tab and then select the Process (from all other users) on the checkbox.
  3. Next, right-click the high-usage processes by svchost.exe then select Go To Services.
  4. On the Services tab, you will see a number of highlighted services running under svchost.exe processes. Now that you are here, it’s time to find and call out the processes draining your CPU. You can do this by either running a Google search in the highlighted services to see if they are critical or not, or you could stop the services one after the other until CPU normalcy is restored. Alternatively, you could stop the services temporarily by selecting a service, right-clicking on it, and choosing to stop the service.
  5. Now that you’ve figured out the culprit go to Services under Computer Management then disable the service. You could also remove that service completely. 
  6. To disable the program or service permanently, press the Windows key +R – this will open the Run command box in which you need to type in services.msc then press Enter. 
  7. In the services management window, right-click the culprit, select properties then change the startup type to Disable. 
  8. Allow the changes by clicking OK and restarting the computer. 

Remedy 4 – Windows Updates Troubleshooting

There are a number of steps for this, but you could start by forcing Windows to recreate an empty store folder for Windows Updates. When down, you should run a windows update troubleshooter 

Finally, install your latest version of the Windows Update Agent then install your critical Microsoft Security Bulletin and fix the corrupted Windows system files. Now you know what svchost.exe file is and how to fix any issues that could come up from its use.

There are a number of issues associated with this file but given its importance in the functioning of Microsoft Windows files, learning the different ways of fixing the problem is critical.

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