A. Svchost is a generic host process that hosts services run from DLLs. During development, it's customary to separate new or changing services to increase the reliability and ease of troubleshooting; thus, on a beta OS version, you see more svchost processes running than on a release version.

To find out what's inside each copy of svchost.exe, use the Resource Kit Support Tools' tlist.exe (with the -s switch). (You need to install the Support Tools from \support\tools on your product CD-ROM; they don't install by default.) Below is sample output from the tlist command:

C:\>tlist -s
0 System Process
4 System
176 smss.exe
208 csrss.exe Title:
172 winlogon.exe Title: NetDDE Agent
256 services.exe Svcs: Eventlog,PlugPlay
268 lsass.exe Svcs: Netlogon,PolicyAgent,ProtectedStorage,SamSs
320 svchost.exe Svcs: RpcSs
420 svchost.exe Svcs: AudioSrv,Browser,CryptSvc,Dhcp,dmserver,
EventSystem,FastUserSwitchingCompatibilityServices,helpsvc,HidServ,
lanmanserver,lanmanworkstation,Netman,Nla,Schedule,seclogon,SENS,
ShellHWDetection,TermService,ThemeService,TrkWks,uploadmgr,W32Time,
WmdmPmSp,wuauser
480 svchost.exe Svcs: Dnscache
500 svchost.exe Svcs: LmHosts,Messenger,RemoteRegistry,SSDPSRV,WebClient
544 spoolsv.exe Svcs: Spooler
660 DKService.exe Svcs: Diskeeper
800 svchost.exe Svcs: winmgmt
1092 explorer.exe Title: Program Manager
1244 ctfmon.exe Title:
900 ISATRAY.EXE Title: IsaTray
1344 NAVAPW32.EXE Title: Norton AntiVirus Auto-Protect
1212 FRONTPG.EXE Title: Microsoft FrontPage - D:\asp
www.ntfaq.com\NTFAQ\5apr2001.htm
428 NAVAPSVC.EXE Svcs: NAV Auto-Protect
1376 ALERTSVC.EXE Svcs: NAV Alert
1372 PowerDVD.exe Title: PowerDVD
444 OUTLOOK.EXE Title: Tasks - Microsoft Outlook
1268 msmsgs.exe Title:
1436 MDM.EXE Title: OleMainThreadWndName
632 WINWORD.EXE Title: DDE Server Window
1404 IEXPLORE.EXE Title: Q250320 - Description of Svchost.exe -
Microsoft Internet Explorer
1348 cmd.exe Title: E:\WINDOWS\System32\cmd.exe - tlist -s
1428 tlist.exe

Many services, drivers, and modules load at system startup and are essential to system operation. Even though they show up in Task Manager, they're still critical.

The svchosts are defined in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Svchost.