I keep getting SVCHOST failures. Why?
I’m seeing a questions about svchost failures come by on the
Ask Leo! web log on a regular basis.
Unfortunately most of the questions are just about that detailed often without even including the message text. So I’ll cover here what a good error report looks like and then include a few steps that may start to help
identify the cause of some of these svchost related failures.
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In order for any technical support resource to assist you
with a problem there are a number of standard bits of information that
you should just always provide up-front. Most are easy and if you
don’t supply those they’re just going to ask you for them anyway. Why not speed up
the process a little by providing these details from the very
The operating system you’re running, and its version.
The machine brand, its processor speed and the amount of memory it
Any hardware add-on devices that you think might be related to the
problem you’re seeing.
Whether or not you are running a firewall, a virus scanner, or a
spyware scanner, and what brand and version of each.
The exact text of the error message, if any that you are
seeing. I know this can be a little bit of a pain, but the exact error
can convey a lot of information. And trust me, this more than anything
else, will be the first thing that your technical support person will
ask about. (I’ve got a few tips on capturing those messages
If the problem is reproducible a summary of how to make it happen.
A list of any changes that either happened or that you perhaps
made to your computer around the time that the problem started;
particularly any software or hardware that you installed or setup.
Now, on to svchost. Svchost is particularly hard fella to diagnose
because as I outlined in a prior
article there are typically several copies of svchost running at
the same time.
In addition to the information above I would collect the
following to begin diagnosing a svchost related problem:
Any change in behavior after the failure. Does something
stop working once you’ve experienced the error message referencing
svchost and if so what?
Capture the output of “tasklist /svc” if at all possible after rebooting but sometime before the svchost related failure.
Then after the failure run “tasklist /svc” again and see
what if anything is different.
That’s not meant to be a solution but a starting point. That
information might be enough to help you understand what’s failing. If
not it’s valuable information for the technical support person you’ll
be talking to.