Happening Again... Reformat Imminent

By EXCellR8
Nov 13, 2008
  1. Alright so this is the third time that I have faced this problem; it seems it's not being caused by what I originally thought. Anyways, I had to update my chipset drivers recently and the same thing happened when the nvidia Ethernet drivers were installed. Once the system was rebooted, that pesky svchost.exe started hogging CPU res again! I tried uninstalling and reinstalling different versions of the driver but the same thing happened for each. I originally thought that the problem was just with the nvidia driver for the onboard LAN but I also tried installing a driver for my Linksys wireless adapter too. The same thing happened after that device was installed.

    So, I wanted to know if anyone knew why only network device drivers are causing this to happen. No CPU is hogged in safe mode w/o networking so the problem is confirmed to be network related. I believe the wuauclt.exe service in the offending svchost.exe process is to blame for the resource hogging but I was not able to fix it last time. Turning off Auto Updates did nothing. The problem just stopped one day after installing the proper chipset driver. I installed the same driver this time but it didn't help.

    Now, I am planning to reformat the hard drive that XP is on anyways because my computer has been running quite lousy lately. XP has been installed for over a year and I've changed the hardware many times during this period. I'm thinking now that my reoccurring issue must be with XP itself and not the drivers. I just hope that I don't see this happen again after the reformat because it's a real pain to fix; I'm not even sure how I did it last time. Thanks in advance for any input.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    if you want to know what is really running under SVCHOST.EXE, go to a command prompt and run:
    tasklist /svc

    Checking in Task Manager in Vista

    You can right-click on a particular svchost.exe process, and then choose the "Go to Service" option.

    (Xp & Vista)
    You can use the excellent Process Explorer utility from Microsoft/Sysinternals to see what services are running as a part of a svchost.exe process.

    You can also go to Start-> Run-> services.msc
    And check out all the services running, including "Automatic Updates" which you can disable
  3. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    I was able to kill the threads using Process Explorer which stopped the hogging. I've turned automatic updates off and I have now disabled it in Services. I did notice that the executable path was "C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs" which matched the thread description in PE so I think it might be all set. I still need to reformat but at least now I can connect to the web w/o worrying about my CPU. Thx man.

    and BTW... I got the go ahead from VT about the video card but I can't find the damn receipt!!
  4. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    I had to kill the threads again after I turned my computer back on today. I checked the Services list and Automatic Updates were still disabled. What gives? There were actually more resource-hogging threads to kill this time around too... only gonna get worse probably until I reformat.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    This may also be Virus\Malware issue
    Read-> Is your system infected? Read this before Cleaning or Formatting

    As these tests can quite lengthy I wonder if format (removal of partition to be specific)
    Would be advised?
    Doing so, will eliminate all software, only leaving hardware as a possible issue
    Always confirm all drivers are updated from your manufacturer's website
    (you may even have a look at bios update too, before re-installing Windows)
  6. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Yea I think it's purely software at this point. It's funny that you bring up the BIOS update because I just performed an update a couple days ago before I installed the new chipset drivers. I also downloaded the catalyst 8.11 literally minutes after the release on ATI's site. I think the problem is either between Windows Security Center or AVG Anti-Virus 8. After I killed the threads today, I opened up the Security Center and unchecked all of the notification options. This seemed to cause those same threads to restart and I had to kill them again. AVG is also behaving a little strange so I might change my AV software eventually...

    EDIT: Threads just started up again for no reason...
  7. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Well I still haven't found a solution to this annoying problem; I haven't had the time to reformat my main drive so I'm giving this one last shot before I dig out my XP CD. I took a screenshot of the offending process's threads in Process Explorer that are to blame for the CPU usage.


    This one instance of svchost.exe process has a command line that reads "C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs" which I believe is normal. I've tried disabling all kinds of stuff that eventually just crashes my system and doesn't seem to effect the CPU hogging at all. I have also tried resetting Automatic Updates using command lines but that didn't do anything either. I can kill the threads that are shown in the image above but they restart on their own.

    The only solution I have to this right now is pretty lousy. I must uninstall any network drivers before shutting the system down and then reinstall them after Windows loads up again. There are only two threads that hog CPU after the driver is reinstalled. These two threads can be killed via PE and they don't start up again so that's where I stand at the moment. It's probably just Windows being a mediocre OS and not working correctly with network drivers.
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Oh, I just thought of a better idea
    Un-install AVG8 fully, restart then run the AVG Remover tool, just be really certain.
    Removal Tool located h e r e

    MS also released a security update for Vista, to fix an issue where "filtering driver" (the same thing that AVG uses) can cause a lag.
    You can find that h e r e

    Try a better Free Antivirus like Avira
  9. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    I'm going to give uninstalling AVG a try, even though it usually never gives me problems. Just for kicks, I formatted and installed WinXP on a spare hard drive and replaced my C: drive with it. I wanted to see if the same problem occurred if Windows was reinstalled... Once it was all set up, I installed the same drivers (including Ethernet components), restarted the computer and everything was fine. Nothing was hogging CPU and it was running smoothly. I think a reformat might be the only way to fix this completely, but I will give the AVG thing a shot. I was planning to use a different Anti-Virus anyways. What do you think about Avast? I've never heard of that one you mentioned...

    [UPDATE]: Uninstalling AVG did nothing...
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    I usually quote both Avast and Avira
    But Avira is far better, and I use it ;) (it does have an annoying splash screen when it updates though, just a freeware problem, I can put up with :grinthumb )
  11. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    This is really the most annoying thing ever...
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

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