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I came in this morning (and not for the first time) and found a dialog box on my screen saying "svchost.exe has caused an exception. Would you like to debug this?"

Fortunately, it gives the PID. Using tasklist /svc I see this instance of svchost is running the following:

svchost.exe 1684 AudioSrv, Browser, CryptSvc, Dhcp, dmserver, ERSvc, EventSystem, helpsvc, HidServ, LanmanServer, lanmanworkstation, Netman, Nla, RasMan, Schedule, seclogon, SENS, SharedAccess, ShellHWDetection, srservice, TapiSrv, Themes, TrkWks, w32time, winmgmt, wscsvc, wuauserv

After this happens the most noticeable thing I am missing is audio. My system doesn't think it has audio hardware anymore.

Any ideas on what could be causing svchost to crash or how to go about narrowing it down?

System:

  • Win XP SP3
  • Dell Latitude E5500
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A co-workers computer does the same thing; it's another Dell as well. Perhaps it's some weird interaction between this flavor of Dell and XP. –  dwj Oct 22 '09 at 16:29

3 Answers 3

Lots of things cause svchost to crash. Svchost is a container for running several system services, and sometimes it's not very clear which service caused the crash.

You'll need to find out more information before you can diagnose the issue. Check the application/system log for errors and warnings. Usually these can be referenced on Microsoft Help and Support with details, cause and resolutions.

Microsoft has a KB about troubleshooting service crashes.

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Not much info in the logs pointing to a possible issue. I'll monitor them for next time though. The big problem is that it doesn't happen every day and may not happen for days on end (I leave my machine on all of the time). –  dwj Aug 5 '09 at 20:19

From http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2008/01/11/getting-started-with-svchost-exe-troubleshooting.aspx

To isolate each service into its own process:

sc config SERVICE type= own

Event Viewer errors can be useful in figuring out which svchost is crashing. Tasklist /SVC or Process Explorer can be helpful in narrowing down things also before isolating the suspect services.

The blog article has another method which is bit more involved. (Best to do new system restore snapshot before trying that)

sc config SERVICE type= share

to restore things back to normal.

One way to dump the process:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/asiatech/archive/2011/08/29/a-useful-tool-to-generate-dump-file-for-a-particular-service.aspx

There are several ways to dump a particular service:

  1. Use Debug Diagnostic Tool (DebugDiag) 1.2.
  2. Use the following batch file:

    FOR /F "tokens=2 delims=," %%A IN ('tasklist /svc /FI "services eq winmgmt" /NH /FO csv') DO SET PID=%%~A
    adplus.exe -hang -p %PID% -o c:\dumps
    

(requires Debugging Tools for Windows installed, for the adplus.exe or vbs) The blog contains also another tool.

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The symptom of not having audio could be an indication of a hardware failure. This type of problem could also be the result of malware taking over your soundcard and using it as a listening device. I would look this one over very carefully.

Simply updating the audio driver is worth a shot. I would also recommend using process explorer to get a better look into what is happening at the time of the crash.

Process Explorer Download

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When that svchost process died, it killed off AudioSrv which would result in a loss of audio. –  shufler Aug 5 '09 at 18:32
    
Try to respawn the process and see if it starts working. –  Axxmasterr Aug 5 '09 at 18:56
    
I'll try to restart processes next time; I rebooted and got on with what I needed to do. I'll run Process Explorer next time as well. The biggest issue is that there are a lot of processes under this one PID... –  dwj Aug 5 '09 at 20:27

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