The latest Windows 10 build (Build 14942) that Microsoft has pushed out to Windows Insiders contains several improvements, but also brings an end to the practice of grouping Service Hosts.
If you’re not familiar with svchost.exe that you’ve always seen running on your Task Manager as a Windows process, read on.
Microsoft started to group service host processes (svchost.exe) starting with Windows 2000 to conserve available memory as the number of pre-installed services grew. The recommended RAM for PCs for Windows 2000 was 256MB (yes, that’s even less than the cheapest smartphone out there) and as the available memory increased dramatically over the years, there wasn’t any practical memory-saving advantage of service hosts.
With the latest build, Microsoft is ending the practice on systems with more than 3.5GB of RAM and each service will now run as a separate process. The company, in a blog post, has mentioned that this change will also increase RAM usage somewhat and there might be a negative impact on devices with only 4GB of memory.
Disabling the grouping of Service Hosts will improve reliability since one service crashing would not take down others with it. Also, process isolation and individual permission sets for services will increase security.
For administrators, this change would also increase transparency and the Task Manager will now give you a better view into what is going on behind the scenes. On machines with enough memory, all services will be listed in separate processes and you would be able to see how much CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network individual services are consuming.
A lot of mid-range consumer devices, including Surface, pack in 4GB of RAM, and might experience increased RAM usage. We’re not sure of the impact yet, but considering this is on an Insider build, Microsoft will be closely watching any performance hits and take appropriate steps to counter any negative effects.