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[SOLVED] Severe SVCHOST memory leak

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Severe SVCHOST memory leak within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. This is a problem that I seem to end up with a lot. On the desktop, it happens with the


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Old 12-22-2008, 05:05 PM   #1
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This is a problem that I seem to end up with a lot. On the desktop, it happens with the SVCHOST's Network Service process and on the laptop it happens on the Local Service process.

When I start either computer and run Task Manager, I can see the memory usage continue to climb slowly even after the systems have fully loaded and are basically idle!

I have run Ad-Ware SE Pro and my virus protection several times. Every once in a while they find files that need to be deleted, but still the same problem persists.

Any suggestions on the next steps that I need to take to try and find the problem?


One final note: I end stop the Network Service process at startup on the desktop which does not fix the problem but at least is a temporary solution. When I try to do the same with the Local Service process, it continuously reappears and disappears, basically doing the same as before (ram hogging), but in an odd cat-and-mouse way that cannot be ended again. The ending of neither process causes any critical errors like ending a SVCHOST System process would.

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Old 12-22-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
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You state that your OS is "Windows XP Home v2002, SP1". The svchost memory leak was solved in later updates :
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sec...ry/927891.mspx

Please update Windows XP with all the latest critical updates using Windows update.

Read this before you install SP3 :
http://www.techsupportforum.com/f10/...-a-247434.html

I would advise that you download the standalone installer for SP3, disconnect physically from the internet (unplug the cable or turn the router off or you'll reconnect automatically once Windows restarts) and turn off your antivirus and firewall protection before you install SP3. Once SP3 is installed reenable your firewall and antivirus and reconnect to the internet.

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Old 12-22-2008, 06:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the help. I am a dial-up user, so it will take me a while to get SP3 downloaded.

I am also a minimalist that does not believe every update is as necesary as some people claim, especially when people do an update just because they were told to and suddenly after they update they are experiencing issues that they were not before.

As such, I will probably try the smaller update on my laptop first, and if it does not work I will go with SP3 unless someone else has any other suggestions.

I will, of course, get back to you afterwards.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:47 PM   #4
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You could go at a friend's or at the local internet café to download the service pack file and save it on an USB flash drive, it would take less time than downloading it on dial-up.

The service packs only contain the High-priority updates, most of them being security updates,helping with compatibility issues or solving bugs like that old one with the svchost.exe process. Then there's a whole bunch of optional updates that you can choose to install or not if you connect manually to windows update, I don't install those either.

You should definitely install all the high-priority updates, new security flaws are found each day. For instance here's the latest one : http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/111811. The related update has been made available on Windows update since december 17th. All systems set to install the updates automatically are no longer at risk, what about your system ?
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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SP3 standalone is the shizzle. Everyone should have a copy on their thumbdrive.

I dunno about any specific "svchost" memory leak, however what I do know is that a memory leak is when a program that has claimed a certain patch of memory fails to release it back to be used by something else after the software shuts down, i.e. any program that has a memory leak is poorly written.

So, if in the event your problem isn't this specfic MS known-issue memory leak, but rather a generic one that just happens to be associated with Svchost (which is used by just about everyone that wants it), you might start looking at your software and considering which is more likely to be poorly written, and possibly the source of the leak.

Also, Event Viewer will report memory leaks when programs shut-down without releasing the memory they've claimed. Sometimes this happens when a program shuts down unexpectedly, i.e. it crashes due to some problem. Reinstalling the software may fix the problem.

I'm also a minimalist in certain respects, however MS updates are one thing I never second-guess, except for that stupid MS "Search" thing, and that goofy "Silverlight" thing. Also, sometimes their hardware device driver updates do more harm than good. But, at the very least, I'd make a point of getting all the Security Updates. There are plenty of other ways to claim & reclaim your system resources from bloaty and presumptuous software. CFMON.exe and java are currently on my list to have certain pieces and parts amputated.

If only I could send their bloody stumps back (via FedEx) to the pea-brained software engineers that created them, packaged maybe with a couple of dead possums I could pick up off the side of the road...
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
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As I was waiting for the SP to finish downloading, I ran MSConfig, and through a little trial and error of shutting off services and start-ups, I discovered that the problem was in fact somehow related to the virus protection or firewall. I uninstalled both on the laptop and the problem stopped, also realizing that the problem seems to start most often during some random virus definition updates.

While waiting I went out and purchased a much more recent version of my virus software (had bene letting the software update itself as well), and amazingly, the problem is gone.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:20 PM   #7
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Curious. Programs with memory leaks are poorly written. What was the AV software causing the problem ?

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