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Is Having Multiple "svchost.exe" Normal?


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#1 indolence

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:01 AM

Well I was cleaning out my laptop from junk files and etc and noticed i had multiple svchost.exe processes. I checked your Startup List Database section and there were some entries about some trojans naming themselves as the svchost.exe. I ran Adaware, Spybot, and AVG Antivirus but nothing was detected. I know that svchost.exe is important for Windows to function so I just wanted to know if this was normal. I googled my situation but one site said it was normal to have 3 or 4 of the instances; I have 7. I have 2 for NETWORK SERVICE, 1 for LOCAL SERVICE, and 4 for SYSTEM. They all range in Mem Usage with the lowest being 5,004K and the highest being 29,668K. I have an HP dv6000t with XP.

Thanks.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:12 AM

Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for a group of services that are run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) and can run other services underneath itself. This is a valid system process that belongs to the Windows Operating System which handles processes executed from DLLs. It runs from the registry key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Svchost where details of the services running under each instance of svchost.exe can be found. At startup, Svchost.exe checks the services portion of the registry to construct a list of services that it needs to load.

It is not unusual for multiple instances of Svchost.exe running at the same time in Task manager in order to optimise the running of the various services.

svchost.exe SYSTEM
svchost.exe LOCAL SERVICE
svchost.exe NETWORK SERVICE

Each Svchost.exe session can contain a grouping of services, therefore, separate services can run, depending on how and where Svchost.exe is started. This grouping of services permits better control and easier debugging. The process ID's (PID's) are not static and can change with each logon but generally they stay nearly the same because they are running services all the time. The PID's must be checked in real time to determine what services each instance of svchost.exe is controlling at that particular time. Read "How to determine what services are running under a Svchost.exe process".

Determining whether a file is malware or a legitimate process sometimes depends on the location (path) it is running from. One of the ways that malware tries to hide is to give itself the same name as a critical system file like svchost.exe. However, it then places itself in a different location on your computer. In XP, the legitimate Svchost.exe file is located in your C:\WINDOWS\system32\ folder.

Other legitimate copies can be found in the following folders:
C:\I386
C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\
C:\WINDOWS\$NtServicePackUninstall$\
and a prefetch file located here: C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch\SVCHOST.EXE-3530F672.pf

If svchost.exe is running as a startup (shows in msconfig), it can be bad as shown here and here. Make sure of the spelling. If it is scvhost.exe, then that is Trojan.

There are several ways to investigate svchost.exe and related processes.

You can download and use Process Explorer or System Explorer to investigate all running processes and gather additional information to identify and resolve problems. These tools will show the process CPU usage, a description and its path location. If you right-click on the file in question and select properties, you will see more details about the file. To get a list of processes shown by Process Explorer, go to file and choose Save as... to create a log named Procexp.txt in the same folder where Process Explorer resides.

The Process Explorer window shows two panes by default: the upper pane is always a process list and the bottom pane either shows the list of DLLs loaded into the process selected in the upper pane, or the list of operating system resource handles (files, Registry keys, synchronization objects) the process has open. In the menu at the top select View > Lower Pane View to change between DLLs and Handles.

If you have XP Pro, you can use Tasklist /SVC to view the list of services processes that are running in Svchost. The /SVC switch shows the list of active services in each process.

Go to Start > Run and type: cmd
press Ok
At the command prompt type: tasklist /svc >c:\taskList.txt
press Enter

Go to Start > Run and type: C:\taskList.txt
press Ok to view the list of processes

For help and syntax information, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
tasklist /?
Also see Syntax options and Tasklist Syntax.

You can also use the WMI command-line utility to view and list processes.
Go to Start > Run and type: cmd
press Ok
At the command prompt type:
WMIC /OUTPUT:C:\ProcessList.txt PROCESS get Caption,Commandline,Processid
press Enter.

You can also use (type):
WMIC /OUTPUT:C:\ProcessList.txt path win32_process get Caption,Processid,Commandline
press Enter.

Go to Start > Run and type: C:\ProcessList.txt
press Ok to view the details of all the processes.

You can search the process name using Google or BC's File Database.

If you cannot find any information, the file has a legitimate name but is not located where it is supposed to be, or you want a second opinion, submit it to jotti's virusscan or virustotal.com. In the "File to upload & scan" box, browse to the location of the suspicious file and submit (upload) it for scanning/analysis.
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#3 indolence

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:39 PM

hey thanks! this information was very helpful and each of my svchosts were legit. Thank again!

#4 quietman7

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 03:09 PM

Your welcome. :thumbsup:
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