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Host Process stops working?

I have a Dell laptop running Vista. Suddenly today, I started getting the message, "Host Process for Windows Services stopped working and was closed." This seems to happen anytime I do ANYTHING. Sometimes just before that message, I receive another one: DHCP Client has stopped working..."

 In addition, the sound regularly turns off and I am told that Windows Audio Service is not enabled, and I must re-enable it.

I thought this was due to my installing D-Link Media Server software today; but after I returned my computer to an earlier system restore point, I still have the problem.

Any ideas?
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kjannot
Asked:
kjannot
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3 Solutions
 
javierrosadoCommented:
My best guess is that must have another service in the generic host that is failing and making the whole list of processes running under the Windows Host to eventually fail.  You should start by checking which services are running under the Windows Generic Host Process that contains the Audio Service or any other failing service.  

Go to the command line and type  [ tasklist /svc /FI "IMAGENAME eq svchost.exe"  ]

That will show you all the generic host processes with their associated services under each of them.  Look for the one that has you failing services and take note of the other services running with it.
Disable one at a time and see if the problem happens again.  When it no longer happens, you have found your problematic service and now you must see where it came from, what happened to it and possible, reinstall it.

Good Luck.
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Javier; I think we're on the right track. svchost 4536 includes audio service, dhcp, event log and security center--all things I've received that "has stopped running" message for. How can I fix it, or find out what happened to it?
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javierrosadoCommented:
Well, first I'd start by figuring out when am I receiving all the weird messages (at startup, at shutdown, starting some app).  This will help us to know when the actual problem has finally gone.  Then, I'd disable each one of those services, one by one, followed by a restart and see if the problem re-appears.  Let me know what was the last service you disabled, that allowed the computer to work without problems at the next restart.
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
The quickest test I have is to start any media player (Windows, Winamp...) and try to play a music file. The audio service immediately shuts off. I get a message to that effect, and a message stating that the event log has shut down.

Don't I need all four of those services--audio service, event log, security center and dhcp? Won't disabling any of them cause some things not to work? Or are you just suggesting seeing if the computer itself will work once the service is disabled?
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
Right now, all those services are showing up in the Task Manager as stopped (with no PID number associated with it); when I attempt to start each one, I am told that another instance of that service is already running, even though another instance is not showing up in the services list. Why would this be? And, I'm wondering--is the PID number static, or does it change each time the service is started? In other words, should I look for 4536 each time, or just the name of the service?
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
Okay, forget my last message. I figured out that the PID changes every time, but all four of those processes (and a fifth one: lmhosts -- TCP/IP NetBIOS) remain associated with the same PID number. My earlier question remains, though: how can I fix these processes? I mentioned one time when I receive these messages all the time--when trying to play any kind of audio file (or when a video file streams from the internet--audio shuts down). Can somebody tell me how these processes are associated, and what I would need to do to repair them?
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javierrosadoCommented:
I just wanted to see which one caused the problem to replace only the needed files.
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
Okay, this is what I found: Disabling Windows Event Log, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, Security Center and DHCP client, in turn, had no effect. When I disabled Windows Audio (Audiosrv), the audio of course didn't work -- but I stopped getting messages that any other services had shut down. So, the problem seems to lie with Audiosrv itself.

So, what do I do now?
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javierrosadoCommented:
Great!!!.  Ok, for now, try uninstalling the Audio Driver and finding an updated version for it.  If there is no updated driver, try re-installing the one you had.  If you are strill having problems after re-installing the audio driver or upgrading it, you may have faulty hardware (Sound Card).  

Also, you may try enabling the Audio Service but disabling the Audio Hardware from the Device Manager just to be sure the problem lies in the Sound Card side and not on the Operating System side.

Let me know.
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
My impression is that it is a software issue. I have no problems when playing streaming video that uses Adobe Flash player (like the video on NYTimes.com), but the audio service shuts off when I stream video using a quicktime plugin, or when playing an mp3 through Windows Media Player. Also, different incidental sounds within programs (like the cash register in Quicken) are not affected, and do not shut down the audio service.

I'll try updating my driver and let you know what happens.
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kjannotAuthor Commented:
Interesting...when I downloaded the official Sigma Tel audio driver from the Dell website, uninstalled the old driver and installed that new one, I received the same problem all over again. When I simply uninstalled that driver, restarted my computer and allowed Windows to install a driver for the device--it now works just fine! I now have sound, and am (for the moment) not receiving any messages that any other services have stopped working. The problem appears to be resolved!
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javierrosadoCommented:
Great!!  Hope it stays that way.
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