I have noticed on several Windows 7 machines that Windows updates and Windows driver search can cause svchost.exe to consume excessive amount of RAM.
In the case of Windows updates, it seems that all the updates get downloaded to RAM, cached, and then you experience the joy of installing them while the machine is operational, and again at reboot. I have these machines set to never download, update, or notify the user of updates, because svchost.exe, TrustedInstaller.exe, and wau...exe all go haywire under any other setting. svchost.exe will still consume the massive amounts of RAM under any of other the options for Windows updates. Therefore, I now manually check and install updates once a week.
in the case of Windows driver search, when you plug in a new device, Windows will consume an excessive amount of RAM while it's probing, analyzing, and downloading a driver for the device. The most prominent example is when I attempted to connect a 3TB drive to a machine. My laptop was not able to connect to the device. It was a Core i7 with 4GB of RAM. I plugged the drive into a desktop with 16GB of RAM. I don't recall if this machine had crazy RAM usage trying to cess out the drive. However, the laptop got an upgrade to 12GB of RAM, so I connected the drive to it. RAM usage for svchost spiked to 3GB. I've seen similar, but not as extreme, behavior almost any time I plug in a new device.
These machines are all Core i7s of some variety with 12GB of RAM and up. Not light specs, though maybe that's only average for 2015?
I have researched this phenomenon before, and while I have found many people asking similar questions, I have not found solutions to the problem.
Is there a way to mitigate this behavior?