The situation is familiar to countless Windows users: They're in a groove at work, firing off e-mails, crafting documentation, and even blogging on their personal site during breaktime, when suddenly, something takes over 99 percent of the CPU, slowing it to a virtual standstill. A quick look at the invaluable Process Explorer (or the standard Windows Task Manager) indicates that a process called svchost.exe is using all that CPU. What's more, there's one main CPU offender. Multiple versions of svchost.exe are running in the background and hogging CPU cycles. What is it? Is it spyware? Hackers? Terrorists?
Although there are historical cases of malware using svchost.exe, because of its common presence, it's most likely just Windows being Windows. Svchost.exe is a generic process name for Windows services that run from Microsoft DLLs (dynamically linked libraries). Each of those instances of svchost.exe in the process lists actually represents a group of services that each process is managing. With Process Explorer, it's easy to see which services each process manages, and stop them one by one to see which is the CPU culprit.
In the spring of 2007, a major problem arose with a Windows update that caused svchost.exe to use 100 percent of CPU because of an issue with Automatic Updates. To correct that bug, be sure that Windows is fully patched with the most recent updates.
The first thing to do is to determine which of the active svchost.exe processes is causing the slowdown. Fire up Process Explorer, and click on the CPU column header to sort the list of processes by processor usage. A list of processes, sorted from most processor intensive to least intensive, is displayed. When the computer stalls, switch over to Process Explorer and see which running process is causing the crunch.… Read more
Microsoft is expected to announce organizational changes in the coming days, shaking up some of the leadership in its Windows and Windows Live groups, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
The changes have been in the works for some time, though the exact announcement date has been in flux. The most recent date heard by a couple of sources is next Thursday, though that date is still not firm. (Memo to Microsoft: you've got a lot to learn when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day.)
Among those expected to be out as part of the … Read more
The goal of the US Army is to move from Windows to Linux. In the meantime, the Army has to find ways to make the two work together. It's turning to Red Hat to do so and to a group of internal IT professionals to create a "Battle Command" that will explore how to move the Army from 20th-century Windows to 21st-century Linux.
In the case of the US Army, integration is a matter of life and death. The Army is "talking about taking the battle command applications [they] are building and combining them with the battle command capabilities that are in the Air Force, Navy and Marines, making sure they work together and draw from the same data." The US Army didn't turn to Microsoft for patent-approved Linux but rather to Red Hat:
At the moment, Linux-based operating systems can communicate only to a limited degree with Microsoft-based systems, according to an Army official familiar with the summits.… Read more
With Apple gaining significant market share, Microsoft is finally acknowledging that it needs to do a better job of selling Windows.
"We're going to have to invest more than we ever have in consumer excitement," CEO Steve Ballmer told financial analysts Monday. "We are going to be doing more to highlight Windows, and that is going to require more investment."
Ballmer also mentioned the need to work on the next Windows, but offered no new details on Windows 7, Vista's successor.
"We're very hard at work on the next version, which we … Read more
Microsoft has wrapped up development of two major products, Windows Server 2008 and the Service Pack 1 update to Windows Vista, CEO Steve Ballmer told financial analysts Monday.
"Both products have released to manufacturing today, which is good news," Ballmer said.
Ballmer highlighted a few big corporate deployments of Vista, including at Continental Airlines, which is in the process of upgrading 10,000 systems.
"We think we are turning the corner in terms of enterprise deployment, and Service Pack 1 will be a huge boon," Ballmer said.
Microsoft will begin distributing Vista SP1 via Windows Update … Read more
I had occasion to open the C:Windows folder on my old XP machine, and was immediately struck by the number of folders whose names began "$NtUninstall". They were from several hundred kilobytes to 10 megabytes in size, and there were more than 150 of these bad boys just taking up space on my hard drive. There were also a few multi-megabyte files whose names began with "$MSI31Uninstall" or "$NtServicePackUninstall". Some of these folders dated back to when I bought the machine in 2003.
If Explorer won't show you the contents of the … Read more
Considering Vista just had its first birthday, this seemed like a good time to look at some statistics to get a feel for just how popular it is.
Microsoft issues sales figures for Vista licenses, but they have a vested interest and a corporate history that makes trusting them difficult. Market researchers come out with numbers based on surveys but the sample size is always small. That leaves usage statistics, specifically website usage.
The software that runs a web site is called a web server, the most popular programs being Apache and IIS. In addition to serving up web pages, … Read more