svchost.exe high memory and CPU – how to fix

I use Windows 7 and I know that svchost.exe is a legitimate windows process and it is responsible for handling several system-related tasks in the background. I also know it should not be using hundreds of megabytes of memory, let alone gigabytes.

My svchost.exe process was taking over 50% of my CPU and over 1.3 GB of memory.

If you have this problem, first make sure your system has not been attacked by virus (update your antivirus and run a full scan).

My best guess is that I may have installed something (a framework maybe) that is interfering with Windows Update. Though I still don’t know the root cause for this problem, I was able to mitigate it by stopping the Windows Update service (one of the main services handled by svchost.exe).


Open the Task Manager: Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click on Start Task Manager.

task manager


Click on the “Processes” tab.

Make sure you are seeing all processes by checking the box “Show processes from all users”.

Sort all the services by “Memory”



The memory and CPU consumption issue is clearly visible.



Now click on the “Services” tab to see all the running services (because Windows Update is a service).

Click on the “Services…” button. This will open a new window.

Scroll down to find the “Windows Update” service. Notice that it is currently “Started” and “Automatic”.



Double click on the row with the “Windows Update” service to see it’s Properties window.

Here you can “Stop” the service first.

Also, you can change the “Startup type” so that it is not automatically launched by Windows. The best option is to change this setting to “Manual” so that you can manually Start or Stop the service as you need it.


Apply the changes and you are done.

This solved the svchost.exe problem, but it affects windows’ ability to run its updates. Keep this in mind.