Analyze Service Host high CPU usage

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 29, 2017

High CPU usage of a process on Windows can slow down other operations to snail like pace. While that is sometimes caused by user run programs, say a taxing computer game or video rendering program, it may sometimes be caused by Windows processes such as Service Host.

Service Host is a svchost.exe process; Recent versions of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system separate services that are run by it while older versions of Windows lumped them together which made identification more complicated.

Programs like Svchost Process Analyzer or Svchost Viewer were created to assist users and system administrators in finding out which service was run under which svchost process on the Windows machine.

You may see 20 or more Service Host processes listed on Windows 10 machines as a consequence.

Analyze Service Host high CPU usage

svchost service host

The first thing that you need to do is find out which Service Host process is responsible for that. Once you have the process, you know the Windows Service that is causing it, and from there you may do something about it depending on the service in question.

First the basics:

  1. Use Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. You should see all processes listed there right away.
  3. Click on the CPU column to sort by CPU utilization. The process that uses the most CPU should now be shown at the top.
  4. Click on it to display additional information about it. A click on Service Host: Local Service for instance may reveal the Function Discover Provider Host service.

The next step depends largely on the service in question. While you can run a search on the Internet to find out more about it, you may also open the Services Manager first to read its description and find out how it is started and what it does.

To start the Services Manager, tap on the Windows-key, type services.msc, and hit the Enter-key.

services description

Locate the service -- it has the same name as the entry that opened in the Task Manager when you clicked on the Service Host entry there; you find its status -- running usually -- as well as the startup type and a description more often than not.

Sometimes it is also possible to link high CPU usage to activity. Say, Windows Update runs at the time and found updates. You may then see Service Host: Local System -- Delivery Optimization using a lot of CPU while the updates are processed.

What you can do to resolve the Service Host issue

Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with high CPU usage of Service Host tasks:

Set the process priority to a lower value

lower process priority

First thing you need to do get the right svchost.exe entry as you cannot do so under processes on Windows 10.

  1. Right-click on the Service Host entry under Processes in the Windows Task Manager, and select go to details.
  2. This switches to the details tab and highlights the right svchost.exe process.
  3. Right-click on the process, and select Set Priority > Below Normal.

Disable the Service

disable superfetch

Please note that this is not an option for critical Services that Windows requires.

Tip: Check the services configuration pages for Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 on the Black Viper website to find out if you can disable a Service.

  1. Identify the name of the Service on the Processes page.
  2. Open the Windows Services Manager and locate it.
  3. Double-click on the service.
  4. Set its Startup type to "manual" or "disabled". Manual loads it on demand, disabled turns it off completely.

Make sure your PC is up to date

windows update

Sometimes, it is a bug or issue that is causing this that is part of Windows. Microsoft may have fixed the issue in an update, and it is often a good idea to check for updates to find out if that is the case.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type Windows Update, and select the item from the list of search results.
  2. Select "check for updates" or "download", and wait until the process completes.

Make sure your PC is virus-free

It is not uncommon that malware may cause high CPU usage on Windows machines. It is recommended to run scans for malware using one or two second opinion scanners.

You can use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Trend Micro's Anti-Threat Toolkit, Bitdefender Home Scanner, or CrowdInspect.

Make sure file corruption is not the issue

sfc scannow repair

File corruption can cause all sorts of issues including high CPU usage but also freezes or crashes. Windows ships with tools that you may run to make sure files are not corrupt.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type cmd.exe, hold down the Shift-key and the Ctrl-key, and hit the Enter-key. This loads an elevated command prompt.
  2. Accept the UAC prompt.
  3. Run the command sfc /scannow.
  4. The command checks for file corruption and attempts to fix any issues that it finds during the scan and processing.

Some specific cases

Here are some specific cases and solutions:

  • Service Host: Local Service (Network Restricted) causing high CPU usage -- Try disabling the Superfetch service.
  • You can check if Windows Update is transferring files right now by opening an elevated PowerShell prompt and running the command Get-BitsTransfer -AllUsers.
  • To reduce the impact of Windows Update, make sure you don't download or send data to other PCs. Open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered.
Analyze Service Host high CPU usage
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Analyze Service Host high CPU usage
Find out how to analyze high CPU usage of Service Host processes, including how to stop the high CPU usage from happening on your Windows PC.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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