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Friday, November 14, 2008

Know how to deal with svchost.exe Files in VISTA

Wondering what all those svchost.exe files running in the processes of your VISTA Task Manager and if they should be there? Here's a simple explanation of svchost.exe files, what they do, and how to remove them.

UNDERSTAND.DLL FILES~~ svchost.exe files exist to support .dll files. The programs running on your computer occasionally need to communicate with peripheral devices, such as a printer or scanner. A .dll file carries a message from the program to the device (like the printer) telling the device what to do. The .dll file then carries a message back from the device to the program.
SVCHOST.EXE FILES ~~ While VISTA is responsible for the delivery of these messages, the work actually takes place outside the VISTA operating system. In order for .dll files to perform their job, they must be opened in a separate program that is invisible to users unless they step outside VISTA through the command prompt. The svchost.exe file is like the post office, sending .dll mailmen out on delivery whenever a program you are using needs to send a message to a device.
SVCHOST.EXE FILES ARE NOT DANGEROUS*** ~~ However, they can rob your computer of valuable system resources, slowing your computer substantially when many are present. You can speed up your computer by shutting some of these processes down, but BEFORE YOU SHUT A PROCESS DOWN you need to identify what program the process is servicing. **To clarify, svchost.exe files are not dangerous, but sometimes the programs they are servicing ARE dangerous. For this reason it is important to identify the programs that each svchost.exe file is working for. If a virus was intent on accessing your hard drive, the virus would have to use a svchost.exe file to communicate with the hard drive. The svchost.exe file is an essential tool to your computer, but as with any tool, it could possibly be used against you.
IDENTIFYING THE PROCESS~~ To know what program a svchost.exe file is serving, open the task manager again. Click the "PROCESSES" tab to see what services are being run by the process. In the 'Description' column (far right) you will see which program is running a particular process. It is common to have several files running at once, each one performing a cluster of tasks associated with a single program.
DUMPING SVCHOST.EXE WEIGHT~~ When you find a svchost.exe file servicing a program you know you don't need running at the moment, right click over the name to open a pop-up menu under your cursor. Select "Stop Service" from the pop-up menu. This will temporarily stop the service until it is called upon again. Don't worry if you stop a process accidentally. Simply right click on the process again, this time selecting "Start Process".
SEE RESULTS~~ If you want to see the results of ending a particular svchost.exe process, check your available system resources before and after you've stopped the process. In Windows VISTA, your system resources open for viewing whenever you are using Task Manager. To view the resources, hold your mouse over the small green icon located in the bottom right of your screen, near the time display.

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