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svchost.exe gone crazy!

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I have an svchost that sometimes (at least half of the time, probably more) takes 90% or more of the cpu and anywhere from 20k to 150k in ram usage. I don't know where to look to figure out which one it is.

When I end the process, the sound card goes away (i think) and the screen changes its look to that of windows 95 for a while. Then it returns to the xp look.

The machine has a 930 mhz processor and 512 mb ram. Its not great, but it's fine for what i use it for. But it's hard to run much of anything when a slow computer is running on 5% of capacity.

Thank you in advance for all your help.
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    BSOD Warrior/Computer Surgeon

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Hello and welcome to geekstogo, svchost.exe is a windows core component. You are within the minimum requirements of windows XP so your system should run fine. However it is expected to run slow compared to the computers that are out in this day and age.
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Svchost = Service Host, and any one instance of svchost my be providing several different Services. It is likely that there is one particular Service that is the culprit. Sysinternals free Process Explorer will help you discover which Service it is: http://technet.micro...s/bb896653.aspx

Once up and running (no install required) Process Explorer will display the Services hosted by each svchost in a tooltip by holding the mouse over the process entry. You can then alter the function of the Services one-at-a-time to discover which is at fault.

Please do a little reading before making changes to XP Services.

Quick default Services list: http://www.tech-reci...ows_tips236.htm

These 2 sites offer solid info on XP Services:
Black Viper (for SP3): http://www.blackvipe.../servicecfg.htm
Black Viper (for SP2): http://www.blackvipe.../servicecfg.htm
The Elder Geek: http://theeldergeek....vices_guide.htm

Black Viper is a little more aggressive, The Elder Geek a little more conservative.
Compare and contrast to determine your needs.

To access 'Services" in XP, open a Run box from the Start Menu and type: services.msc. Scroll down to the Service you want to control and double click it. In the dialog box that opens, use the small central drop-down menu to select the setting you want to apply to the Service:
Automatic- the Service starts with Windows and runs continuously.
Manual- The Service does not start with Windows, but is available to start by the system or user if required.
Disabled- The Service will not function under any conditions.

It should be clear that only Services clearly known to be un-needed should be disabled. Manual is a "safe" setting. Please do make changes to Services one-at-a-time to make it possible to identify the cause of any problems that may result.

Beyond the svchost issue, there are several things that can be done to improve the performance of a slow system.
I formerly ran XP on a 750 processor with only 128 RAM.

I found that marking the System Performance Settings for best performance gave the biggest boost. Sure it looked like '98, but it ran better. I also set the Page File (Virtual Memory) to "System managed size" and left plenty of room on the hard drive for it. Dropping themes,wallpaper, and system sounds helped as well. I turned off the Screensaver, and ran all updates (including Windows) manually to cut down on background processes.

Beyond that, I got into the practice of doing just one thing at a time. If I wasn't willing to close a window, I at least minimized it to take a load off explorer.

XP is quite robust, and, on a more powerful system, full of nifty special effects. With my limited system resources, I found that I valued performance and reliability over eye candy and "conveniences." Perhaps you will as well.
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