What’s taking up all the memory in svchost.exe?

Posted on 2012-08-26
Last Modified: 2013-11-22
I have a laptop running XP Home with all the latest service packs and updates

-      Laptop has 1 GB of ram of RAM – For basic email and internet browsing it has been enough but I will be installing a 2 GB upgrade

Up till recently, the svchost.exe file has been growing rapidly with nothing open and just idling. I would monitor the task manager and see the cpu utilization climb along memory for the “svchost.exe” process
-      I would use msconfig to eliminate non windows processes until I got down to the Dell wireless tool
-      I would uninstall and reinstall the Dell Wireless driver and even use the Windows wireless tool but eventually the memory usage would climb past 2 GB
-      I would use Sysinternals  “process explorer”  to see what’s running in svchost.exe. there must have been over 50 entries. Even then, I could not tell which process took up the most ram

Is there any other way to tell what process under svchost.exe is what amount of memory? I recall a program called “WhatsRunningInside” but even that tool wasn’t great.
Any help would be appreciated
Question by:agieryic
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    First, I would do some basic trouble shooting:

    A) Close all foreground and background applications that require internet access, one at a time.  Meanwhile, monitor the scvhost process tree and see what ones disappear.
    B) Go in msconfig (Start, Run, msconfig) and go though all your services and start-up, get rid of tools one at a time and see what works best and eliminates your issues.

    And keep in mind that anything that requires internet access will require scvhost, so the application that uses the most physical memory is most likely your culprit.
    LVL 77

    Assisted Solution

    by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
    procmon.exe from sysinternals ( will let you dig deeper into svchost.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Its good to know anything that requires internet access will require scvhost. That helps.

    I did perform the "msconfig" eliminations and there were many. I got down to the "Dell related processes" At first I thought it was the Dell Wireless software but it ended up not being the culprit.

    This particuler older laptop laptop was rebuilt about 1 year ago using the built-in Dell Recovery partition which was near 7 years old. When I rebuilt it I uninstalled all outdated and non-used software. The only software I didnt delete was the actual culprit. It was the Dell software that monitors the hardware on the laptop (I cant recall the Dell tool name). When I deleted this Dell program, it immediately resolved the issue.

    I rebooted and the PC is running fine. However, this was very time consuming. If I could have determined how much ram a process in the svchost.exe, it would have been easier. Process explorer will show you the cpu usage but not the memory usage. In this case, the Dell software tool used near 2 GB ram and climbing but no cpu usage.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    The tool I was thinking about was the "Dell Quickset" that I removed. It was outdated anyway.

    Ve3ofa, Ive seen this procmon tool before. Im just not sure how it shows the memory usage of any given process under the svchost.exe file. I just tried using it on my newer Windows 7 64bit laptop. the only indication of any ram being used is under the "Event" tab under "Event Properties". Let me know if this is it ot there's more to find about memory usage.
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    If your scvhost is out of control it could be a program that's running as a service that's causing this.  You can try what others described but I would do a simple computer cleanup to try to alleviate this and any other lingering problems that may surface:

    1. Go to Start-> Control Panel -> Add / Remove Programs.

    Go through that list and remove anything that looks foreign or not necessary.  You might end up seeing something you don't need, remove it, and in turn remove what services it's causing scvhost to bloat with.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    epichero22, I did exactly that including several Visual Basic programs that this laptop never needed. the Dell Quickset wasw the culprit in this case. I also agree that there could be bogus programs disguised as a real named program.

    Still wanting to know if there's a way to see whats taking up RAM specifically

    PaulHend, I pretty much did what you recomended. It confirms and helps to know what I've already done. Thanks!
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
    Dear Agieryic,

    Fir you need to know what are the servcies running in that SVCHOST.exe and there might be many SVCHOST.exe's extries you will find in the task manager. Kindly note down the PID and go to the command prompt and type tasklist /svc which will give you all process list along with the details at the right hand side. if you have already use Process explorere & Procmon from sisinternals, then try AutoRun this time it will give you more options and result.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Sorry for getting back so late. All the information provided was extremely helpful.

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