svchost – High IO on MS Windows 2003


What is svchost.exe?


svchost.exe (Service Host, or SvcHost) is a system process that hosts multiple Windows services in the Windows NT family of operating systems.
Svchost is essential in the implementation of so-called shared service processes, where a number of services can share a process in order to reduce resource consumption



Hard-drive stays busy.


Task Manager



  1. Top IO Usage
    • svchost.exe
      • Process ID is 920
      • User name is System



  1. Top IO Usage
    • svchost.exe
      • Process ID is 920
      • User name is System


Process Management


List all services running under svchost.exe

Tasklist – List all processes running under svchost.exe


tasklist /svc /fi "imagename eq svchost.exe"


  1. We are focused on PID = 920

Process Explorer

Tasklist – Dig deeper into process svchost.exe = 920


Own Process

In a nice Server Fault QA post, Peter Mortensen suggested that one could separate out the services into their own process and thus gain clearer understanding of each service resource uptake.

To do one will have to change the service configuration.

Here is the specific QA:

How to find memory usage of individual Windows services?

Run as distinct Process


SC Config Servicename Type= own

Run as shared Process


SC Config Servicename Type= share;

Run as distinct Process

Sample Code

rem  1. "Automatic Updates"
SC Config wuauserv Type= own

rem  2. "COM+ Event System"
SC Config EventSystem Type= own

rem  3. "Computer Browser"
SC Config Browser Type= own

rem  4. "Cryptographic Services"
SC Config CryptSvc Type= own

rem  5. "Distributed Link Tracking"
SC Config TrkWks Type= own

rem  6. "Help and Support"
SC Config helpsvc Type= own

rem  7. "Logical Disk Manager"
SC Config dmserver Type= own

rem  8. "Network Connections"
SC Config Netman Type= own

rem  9. "Network Location Awareness"
SC Config NLA Type= own

rem 10. "Remote Access Connection Manager"
SC Config RasMan Type= own

rem 11. "Secondary Logon"
SC Config seclogon Type= own

rem 12. "Server"
SC Config lanmanserver Type= own

rem 13. "Shell Hardware Detection"
SC Config ShellHWDetection Type= own

rem 14. "System Event Notification"
SC Config SENS Type= own

rem 15. "System Restore Service"
SC Config srservice Type= own

rem 16. "Task Scheduler"
SC Config Schedule Type= own

rem 17. "Telephony"
SC Config TapiSrv Type= own

rem 18. "Terminal Services"
SC Config TermService Type= own

rem 19. "Themes"
SC Config Themes Type= own

rem 20. "Windows Audio"
SC Config AudioSrv Type= own

rem 21. "Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)"
SC Config SharedAccess Type= own

rem 22. "Windows Management Instrumentation"
SC Config winmgmt Type= own

rem 23. "Wireless Configuration"
SC Config WZCSVC Type= own

rem 24. "Workstation"
SC Config lanmanworkstation Type= own

rem End.



Once we ran the code to start all the aforementioned svchost.exe services in their own process space, restarted the machine.

SysInternals – Process Explorer

Took the SysInternal’s Process Explorer, arranged based on IO, and noticed that WMI is the culprit.


svchost.exe – Services

Here are the services that are using our cited svchost.exe process.


Took to Control Panel, services applet to stop that service and see if it things slow down.

Dependent Services

Reviewed Dependent Services

And, I really will rather than not stop the local system firewall service.  And, start to wonder why so busy anyways.

But, all that will wait another post as it is Saturday and I have errands to run.


Dedicated to Peter as in Mortensen.



  1. How to find memory usage of individual Windows services?
  2. How do I discover which process is making my hard drive go crazy? (need disk io equivalent of task manager’s cpu % column)
  3. YongRhee ( MSFT )
    • How to troubleshoot Service Host (svchost.exe) related problems?

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