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 .dll's
. 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 to find multiple instances of Svchost.exe running at the same time
in Task Manager
in order to optimize 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.
Determining whether a file is malware or a legitimate process usually 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 (folder) than where the legitimate file resides and runs from there. Another techinique is for the process to alter the registry and add itself as a Startup program
so that it can run automatically each time the computer is booted. Keep in mind that a legitmate file can also be infected by some types of malware such as Virut
which is a dangerous polymorphic file infector
. In XP, the legitimate Svchost.exe file is located in your C:\WINDOWS\system32\
If svchost.exe is running as a startup (shows in msconfig), it can be bad as shown here
. Always make sure the spelling
is correct. If it's scv
host.exe, then your dealing with a Trojan
There are several ways to investigate and see what services a Svchost.exe process is controlling:Note: Process Explorer 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.
Tools to investigate running processes and gather additional information to identify them and resolve problems:These tools will provide information about each process, CPU usage, file description and its path location.