What is svchost.exe and what to do when it breaks

Svchost.exe is a host process for windows services. It just wraps windows service and ensures that it is running correctly and could be started and stopped easily. New svchost.exe process shows up in Windows Task Manager every time when a new windows service starts. That's why it is not unexpected to see multiple svchost.exe processes running on a single Windows machine.

It is not recommended to stop svchost.exe process directly from Windows Task Manager. First of all quite often you won't have enough privileges to do so and second it is much safer to do it from Services Control Panel.

Sometimes you may be interested to understand what is running under certain svchost.exe. With Windows 7 OS it became significantly easier to see services associated with a certain svchost.exe process. To find about certain svchost.exe process you need to perform following actions:

After figuring out services running under certain svchost.exe process you can stop them by clicking right mouse button on a service in Windows Task Manager and selecting "Stop Service" in pop-up menu. Please note that by stopping certain Windows services you can limit functionality of the operating system.

The process described above maybe especially helpful when you get "svchost.exe failed with error 0x..." kind of messages. You can figure out which svchost.exe is responsible for this message and stop services running under it thus preventing the error. We describe a procedure on how to find out which process caused specific error in a separate article which you can also find on this website.