Solved Svchost.exe eating all my RAM

Roberticus

New Member
Hullo everyone. I have the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium, with 8 gigs of RAM. I have a CPU-Usage widget, that says 81% of my RAM's being used, even though Opera browser's the only thing I have running. When I pull up Windows Task Manager, it lists an instance of svchost, with SYSTEM as the User Name, using 5,157,000 K of RAM. I also have 83 processes running, which sounds high. Something tells me this isn't right. ;)

I have done a force-quit on the offending svchost once or twice; it's not the smartest thing, but my RAM usage drops immediately. Even when my computer's idle, svchost uses this RAM. Any suggestions, info, or questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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z3r010

Staff member
A good place to start would be download process explorer from microsoft and find out just what is using the instance of svhost that is eating the ram.

Process Explorer
 

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Roberticus

New Member
Thanks z3r. I've circled the instance of svchost that's causing the problem, but don't know the files being called. In another vein, could this be caused by bad ram, or possibly a trojan/malware?
 

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mansrm81

Vista Guru
I have the same thing after a few days of windows running. All of the services running are part of windows that are needed to run.
 

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dinesh

Vista Expert
Vista Guru
According to Microsoft: "svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries". Could we have that in english please?
Some time ago, Microsoft started moving all of the functionality from internal Windows services into .dll files instead of .exe files. From a programming perspective this makes more sense for reusability… but the problem is that you can't launch a .dll file directly from Windows, it has to be loaded up from a running executable (.exe). Thus the svchost.exe process was born.
 

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dinesh

Vista Expert
Vista Guru
Why Are There So Many svchost.exes Running?
If you've ever taken a look at the Services section in control panel you might notice that there are a Lot of services required by Windows. If every single service ran under a single svchost.exe instance, a failure in one might bring down all of Windows… so they are separated out.
Those services are organized into logical groups, and then a single svchost.exe instance is created for each group. For instance, one svchost.exe instance runs the 3 services related to the firewall. Another svchost.exe instance might run all the services related to the user interface, and so on.
 

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dinesh

Vista Expert
Vista Guru
Hopefully this helps somebody!
 

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Roberticus

New Member
I understand why svchost.exe is needed, and don't mind multiple instances running. Why one instance of svchost needs 5 gigs (!) of ram to run, when that ram wasn't needed a couple weeks ago, is what's so confusing.

Please, any help would be greatly appreciated, as this is effecting the 3d work I'm doing. 8 gigs should be plenty of horsepower for what's being done over here, but this is causing hangs and hiccups. I have no idea why this machine is suddenly so crippled, and will jump through hoops to get info and updates to anyone willing to help. Thanks.
 

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Hansfragger

New Member
Hullo everyone. I have the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium, with 8 gigs of RAM. I have a CPU-Usage widget, that says 81% of my RAM's being used, even though Opera browser's the only thing I have running. When I pull up Windows Task Manager, it lists an instance of svchost, with SYSTEM as the User Name, using 5,157,000 K of RAM. I also have 83 processes running, which sounds high. Something tells me this isn't right. ;)

I have done a force-quit on the offending svchost once or twice; it's not the smartest thing, but my RAM usage drops immediately. Even when my computer's idle, svchost uses this RAM. Any suggestions, info, or questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!





Hello Roberticus. I had the same problem. As I started to hunt down and kill the offending process, I booted , then opened task manager to the performance tab. I noticed two things. First, a svchost was gobbling up a huge amount of my 4 Gigs. Second, I looked to the area that shows total memory, cached, and free. 5 megs a second was moving from free to cached until there was only 8 megs listed as free!:shock:. Then I started shutting down services in the local services box( Start-All Programs-Administrative tools-services) until I caught the perpetrator red handed!:p Vista has a service(more like a dis-service), that supposedly "maintains and improves system performance over time". I have yet to notice any speed improvements, but if you load a sidebar gadget to monitor cpu usage you will see each core fluctuating from 0 to 7% and also look at your hard drive activity light going nuts while its beating your hard drive to death. Press stop in the services page on Superfetch and watch your cpu usage stop, and your hard drive takes a break, and best of all your memory stops being "gobbled up!!!". Then double click on superfetch. When the properties box comes up, change the startup to manual, select apply, reboot and you will have all of the memory you paid for with your hard earned money! After I stopped Superfetch and rebooted, I was showing 586 MB's cached and approx 3300 mb's free.

Have a great one!:)
 

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Hansfragger

New Member
A good place to start would be download process explorer from microsoft and find out just what is using the instance of svhost that is eating the ram.

Process Explorer


What a great tool. Thanks for the tip!
 

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ShadowLeaper

New Member
This large memory usage is supposed to happen - it's part of the Vista memory management system. It pre-fetches the most common programs you run based on logs of previous behavior. If you run one of those programs, it's already in memory and starts quickly. If you don't happen to run one of those programs, Vista frees up that memory for whatever program you actually run.

Vista will do the same thing with a flash drive, and in that case it's called ReadyBoost.
 

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Roberticus

New Member
Thanks for the info ShadowLeaper. I've read that Vista liberally uses system RAM (compared to XP) by front-loading programs so they run/boot more quickly, but this can't be normal. After several hours of light computer activity I get warnings about running low on system memory. The school computers, with a quarter as much RAM and lower system specs, have been running more reliably and in some ways faster (albeit with a different version of Vista).

Anyway, there seems to be at least a tempory fix to the problem by disabling the dwm.exe service. Vista's not as purdy or transparent-looking anymore, but performance is clean and fast again. Thanks for the post Hansfragger; you're directions seem super-easy to perform, but I've been too distracted to sit down and follow-through. I'll post an update when your advice has been tried.
 
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acdcfan

Vista Pro

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Roberticus

New Member
It might be best to consider this problem resolved, as this problem is more or less fixed. Hans, I haven't tried your advice, but have saved it to try later. Thanks everyone for the great help. :D
 

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NormCameron

Vista Guru
DWM.EXE is the Desktop Window Manager in Windows Vista.
When you’re using Aero Glass in Vista, DWM owns an offscreen bitmap for every open window, the size of the window, with a rendering of that window’s contents.
DWM needs this so it can quickly show you thumbnails of all the open windows, and so it can do things like composing and animating quickly. But it requires a lot of memory.
On my system, for example, opening a single full-screen Notepad window causes DWM.EXE to allocate an additional 4.8mb of memory.
Close Notepad and DWM gives this memory back.
I opened a hundred Notepad windows to test, and yep, it allocated almost half a gig of RAM for the bitmaps.
If you can’t afford this much RAM, don’t use the Aero Glass theme in Vista.


SteveX Compiled » Blog Archive » Why does DWM.EXE use so much memory?
 

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NormCameron

Vista Guru
I am not sure if you should diable DWM, as I think it may do more than just make Vista pretty?. To stop the aero-glass effect,
1. Right-Click on a blank area of desktop
2. Select Personalize from the context menu
3. Click Window Color and Appearance Option
4. Here you can check if you want to Enable Transparency or not.
5. You can also disable the whole aero glass theme from here. Just click the Open classic appearance properties for more color options link.
6. Select a non-Aero theme and click OK.
 

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