I currently have 12 different svchost.exe processes running at the same time. I don't know if I'm supposed to have that many, but I can't see any reason why I would need more than one. Why are so many of them running?

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They are service handlers, they group services, and so depending upon what you have running you will see several svchosts running.

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I have 6 and i have a system with no stuff other than office on it. it also has only the minimal number of services enabled. 12 sounds fairly normal for a standard users PC

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They are service handlers, they group services, and so depending upon what you have running you will see several svchosts running.

So, 12 is in no way an extreme amount? When it's just sitting on my desk doing nothing (that i know of) there are 12+ svchost.exe processes running. That just seems odd to me.

I have 6 and i have a system with no stuff other than office on it. it also has only the minimal number of services enabled. 12 sounds fairly normal for a standard users PC

It really depends upon what libraries have been called, biggie. [the .dll things :)].Svchost's run those services that are being used from those various libraries... I have a data streamer and firefox running atm, plus a bunch of hidden autostarts that are [very, I deem] necessary, and six hosts are looking after them. Twelve, huh? Check your autostart list.... msconfig.... or AVG AS tools, or...

well, i've got only 5.

what i know is one svchost (that i have come across) which runs under <user> account, may be a virus which blocks orkut,mozilla,:@
just check if u hav a hidden folder named "c:\heap41a\"
and check if u r able to open orkut.com

otherwise it must system process only.. :)

Like I said, the number depends entirely upon what you have running at any time - I now have five also, but I'm not currently streaming data.... so.
Biggie, if you are really keen get ProcessExplorer, run it and you can then see what each instance of svchost is actually handling. And no, they do not have to be system processes only; any third party application which provides its own dll's will have them running under a svchost handler.

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