Svchost reading 300MB on startup with A8V Dx

My parents' computer starts up real slow; actually it boots fine to show the desktop, but then requires about 3 minutes to be useful (during this time starting internet explorer takes 45s-1minute).

I optimized the boot with BootVis, but this only sped up the boot up to the part I am talking about - where the desktop & icons show, the HD sounds like it's working it's ass off and double-clicking on an icon will be painful.

I used ProcessExplorer ( to see which process was making my HD usage so high (the cpu & mem never get peaked out). As it turns out, there a 2 main culprits. The main svchost process (there are many, but this one is the one that contains Auto Updates, networking, COM+, Help&Support...) ends up performing about 300MB in reads, whereas my computer does about 9MB, a HUGE difference. The other big one is MsMpEng (windows defender), which does about 250MB in reads whereas mine does 50MB.

Asus A8V Dx, Athlon64 3200+
2GB Mushkin HP PC3200
120GB 7200rpm IDE HD

Any ideas why this is happening? This was a problem with a few HD (sata & ide) and memory configurations, and is a problem right from a fresh install.

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  1. Have you tried to disable Windows Defender, which I assume would disable the Windows firewall, and Windows Auto Update to see if that speeds things up? I never run any auto updates and use the free ZoneAlarm firewall on all my machines and AVG antivirus on a couple if Defender is the culpret.
  2. Disabling windows defender only helped some. The main problem is still that svchost is way overdoing something. This has been a problem since before the days of windows defender (had this mobo/cpu together & having this issue since summer 2005.

  3. Don't know if this will help, credit to The Ultimate Troubleshooter. If this has been going on since 2005 it really doesn't sound like strictly a Windows Problem assuming you reinstalled it. Do you have the Windows CD or is it an image from the mfg in which case it could have some crapware on it. Have you tried going into msconfig and disabling everything and then re enable one at a time to see if you can find the culprit?

    "Service Host - Generic Host Process for Win32 Services. The full path to this file should be shown above as C:\WinNT\System32\Svchost.exe or C:\Windows\System32\Svchost.exe. Windows 2000/XP/2003 only. SVCHOST is a generic process which acts as a host for processes that run from DLLs rather than EXEs. At startup SVCHOST checks the Services portion of the Registry to construct a list of DLL-based services that it needs to load, and then loads them. There can be many instances of SVCHOST running, as there will be one instance of SVCHOST for every DLL-based service or grouping of services (the grouping of services is determined by the programmers who wrote the services in question). Under Windows XP Professional and Windows 2003 you can find out what DLL-based services SVCHOST is running by typing Tasklist /SVC at a Command/MS-DOS Prompt (this command is not available in Windows XP Home), while under Windows 2000 you need to use the TLIST -s command from a Command Prompt (MS-DOS Prompt) (depending on how Windows 2000 was installed you may need to download TLIST from the Microsoft website or install it from one of the miscellaneous folders on the Windows 2000 CD)."
  4. Disabling windows update didn't help. They also had a problem with internet after resuming from standby so I added a network card and disabled the integrated one, so maybe we'll just use standby and not turn off unless we have to. The startup from boot is still terrible.

    Sorry I also forgot to specify the OS, it is WinXP Home SP2 from MS, not a product recovery thing from an OEM. I have reinstalled it probably 5 times on 1 sata, 2 satas raid 1, 1 ide (on 2 different ones).

  5. Sounds like a good reason (excuse) to build a new machine :D
  6. Actually this is kinda how this started. At christmas after being sick of my sister's comp being slow (she's a power user but has a problem throwing things out so keeps a rediculous amount of files - backups of backups...) and my parents' P4 1.6 sucking, I got them to pitch in to get my sister a new mobo+cpu, moving hers to them. I figured this set would behave fine under a lower load (the parents don't use too much of their HD and keep it clean). The comp works just fine normally, but it is annoying that it takes so long after booting to be useful. If I knew for sure it was the mobo I might get a microATX mobo for them instead (their video card sucks too).

  7. Anyone with an A8V experience slow startup? Changed certain drivers or uninstalled something to make it go away? Any help appreciated.

  8. Well, I was experiencing a similar problem to what you have although my system hw configuration is different (running a sempron on a gigabyte mb). But the symptoms were quite similar: svchost taking up a lot of cpu cycles at startup (goes up to 99% at times and memory usage climbs to 100MB), then, after about 2 minutes it went back to normal. I've noticed multiple instances of svchost started at the same time, yet only one - as you pointed out, the one with many processes attached - was causing trouble.

    As I read through other forums it seems that this problem is caused by the windows update process (and it shows up especially if you have Office 2003 - which updates through the same application). There are two solutions currently at hand (though it seems that the problem will be fixed until the end of this month (June 2007) through an update to the windows update client):
    - one is to stop the automatic updates (and you could search for updates using the web interface / start the automatic updates manually)
    - the other is to apply a certain hotfix

    For more details, see the forum page below:

    Hope this works for you, as it did for me
  9. Thanks for the reply bootman! I did the fix and svchost doesn't go over 2% CPU usage, but unfortunately still performed 260MB of reads, rendering the system very slow for the 1st 2-3 minutes. In this case the drive is an IDE 2M cache one but I had the same problem with a lone sata and twin satas in raid 1.

  10. In my case, I just disabled automatic updates and I'm waiting for the update to v3 of the update application (if I understood this correctly it is scheduled somewhere at the end of this month - June). If there will be a major flaw in the windows system in this time span I rely on news sites to keep me posted.

    You should try this too, at least for testing purposes and see if those reads still happen - if they still do you could rule out the update system and look for another culprit.

    My drives are also IDE and I haven't noticed any lag.
  11. I've tried disabling automatic updates but that didn't help. There is perhaps something else within this svchost instance working the HD so much but I can't see what.
  12. does this happen even if you disable all none ms services and all startup apps?
  13. Quote:
    Anyone with an A8V experience slow startup? Changed certain drivers or uninstalled something to make it go away? Any help appreciated.


    Same thing happens to me with svchost instances on start-up and I, too, have an AV8 mobo. Seems it's the same windows updates causing it too. After a few minutes everything returns to normal so I just put it down to being a normal thing to be happening. :?
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