Svchost.exe – All You Wanted to Know

Ever wondered what is this Svchost.exe process that is always running on your Windows computer ? Probably that is the reason you are reading this post. Today we will discuss all that you ever wanted to know about svchost.exe.

What is svchost.exe ?

Svchost.exe or Service Host is a Windows system process that can host multiple services of the Windows operating system. If you are wondering what are Windows services, they are the programs that run in the background which are responsible for the functioning of your operating system. These services generally start when you start your operating system and continue to run until the Windows is shut down.

Svchost.exe - All You Wanted to Know

Svchost.exe is used to administer the DLL files (Dynamic link library) for various windows applications. With the advancement of software and the increasing complexity of the operating systems, Microsoft decided to run the software functionality from the DLL interface. Since DLLs cannot be launched by themselves, svchost.exe process was introduced to bridge this gap. The svchost.exe was first introduced in Windows 2000.

Why do you find a lot of instances of svchost.exe running ?

A lot of svchost.exe processes are required for Windows to function properly. These may be your typical Windows services or network services. In simple words, these are the various host processes for Windows that keep your operating system up and running. Now, these windows services are divided into a logical grouping and a single instance of svchost.exe takes care of a single logical group. There is a reason behind this logical grouping. Let’s say if each Windows service is run by a single svchost.exe, a single service failure might result in the crash of the entire operating system.

How to check what services are hosted by a particular svchost.exe ?

There are two ways to check this. You can use the Windows task manager or the Command line interface. To check the services using cmd, you need to open the command prompt and type: tasklist /SVC. 

This will display all the svchost processes along with all the services that are hosted by this particular instance of svchost.

To check the service using the task manager, you need to right-click on an individual svchost.exe process and click on Go to service(s)

This will open up the Services tab and you will be able to view all the services hosted by the svchost.exe that you selected in the previous step.

Can svchost.exe be a virus ?

Since svchost.exe is a system process which is used commonly to host multiple windows services, it can be exploited by malware. A malware can use the name of ‘svchost.exe’ to hide their identity and affect your operating system. A very simple way to check if the svchost.exe is actually a virus, find out the located of the executable file. The location of the svchost.exe is C:WindowsSystem32. Any other file named ‘svchost.exe’ which is located anywhere else can be treated as a virus/malware.

I hope things will be a little more clear after reading this guide on Svchost.exe. I would love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.