How to remove SvcHost.exe Malware (Virus Removal Guide)

The term SvcHost, also known as svchost.exe or Service Host, is a process used to host one or more Windows operating system services. The svchost.exe Microsoft Windows executable file is labeled as: Generic Host Process for Win32 Services. This is a required Windows file and is used to load needed DLL files that are used with Microsoft Windows and Windows programs that run on your computer.

This file is located in either the c:\windows\system32 or c:\winnt\system32 directories depending on your version of Windows and may also be located in the dllcache directory if present.

Picture of Svchost.exe virus

Because svchost.exe is used as a common system process, some malware often uses a process name of “svchost.exe” to disguise itself. The original system file svchost.exe is located in C:\Windows\System32 folder. Any file named “svchost.exe” located in other folder can be considered as a malware. Determining the image path of a process, and its invoking command line, can help identify software masquerading in this way, and help locate the actual program file which is running under the assumed process name of “svchost.exe” (Windows allows multiple processes to all display the same name). Some malware inject a .dll file into the authentic svchost process, for example Win32/Conficker worm.

How does the Svchost.exe malware behave?

Due to the generic nature of this infection, methods of installation may vary. The Svchost.exe infections may often install themselves by copying their executable to the Windows or Windows system folders, and then modifying the registry to run this file at each system start. Svchost.exewill often modify the following subkey in order to accomplish this:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

If your computer is infected with the Svchost.exe virus, this infection may contact a remote host for the following purposes:

  • To report a new infection to its author
  • To receive configuration or other data
  • To download and execute arbitrary files (including updates or additional malware)
  • To receive instruction from a remote attacker
  • To upload data taken from the affected computer

How do I know if Svchost.exe is malicious or not?

Because svchost.exe is a common process in the Task Manager, malware programs sometimes mask themselves by running under the same process name of svchost.exe. Other times, a malware program may run, or inject, its service into an already running svchost.exe process. In either case, this masking action can make it difficult to detect and remove these malware programs.
The easiest way to see if your computer is infected with malware running under the “Svchost.exe” name, is to open your Windows Task Manager by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL on your keyboard,
the right-click on the Svchost.exe which you suspect is malware, and then click on “Open file location
Picture of SvcHost.exe malware

The SvcHost.exe from Windows should be located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Any file named “svchost.exe” located in other folder can be considered as a malware.

Should you be uncertain as to whether Svchost.exe is a virus or not, we encourage you to submit the affected file to https://www.virustotal.com/en/ to be scanned with multiple antivirus engines.

How did Svchost.exe infection get on my computer?

The Svchost.exe virus is distributed through several means. Malicious websites, or legitimate websites that have been hacked, can infect your machine through exploit kits that use vulnerabilities on your computer to install this Trojan without your permission of knowledge.

Another method used to propagate this type of malware is spam email containing infected attachments or links to malicious websites. Cyber-criminals spam out an email, with forged header information, tricking you into believing that it is from a shipping company like DHL or FedEx. The email tells you that they tried to deliver a package to you, but failed for some reason. Sometimes the emails claim to be notifications of a shipment you have made. Either way, you can’t resist being curious as to what the email is referring to – and open the attached file (or click on a link embedded inside the email). And with that, your computer is infected with the Svchost.exe virus.

The threat may also be downloaded manually by tricking the user into thinking they are installing a useful piece of software, for instance a bogus update for Adobe Flash Player or another piece of software.

How to remove SvcHost.exe malware (Virus Removal Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.

To remove SvcHost.exe virus, follow these steps:


STEP 1: Use ESET Poweliks Cleaner to remove SvcHost.exe virus

In this first step, we will run a system scan with ESET Poweliks Cleaner to remove Trojan.Poweliks that might be installed on your system.

  1. Poweliks will change your Internet Explorer security settings so that you are unable to download files with it. To fix this, press the Windows key (Windows Key) on your keyboard, and while holding it down, also press the R key on your keyboard. This will open the Run dialog box as shown below.
    inetcpl.cpl
    Next, we will need to type inetcpl.cpl in the “Run” box to open the Internet Explorer settings.
  2. In Internet Explorer, click on the “Security” tab, then on “Reset all zones to default level” button. Click on “Apply” and “OK” to save these settings.
    Reset all zones to default level in Internet Exlorer
  3. Next, we will need to download ESET Poweliks Cleaner from the below link:
    ESET POWELINKS CLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will download ESET Poweliks Cleaner on your computer)
  4. Once the ESET Poweliks Cleaner tool has been downloaded, look for the file called ESETPoweliksCleaner.exe on your desktop and double-click it.
    ESET Poweliks Cleaner Icon
  5. You will now be shown the main screen for the ESET Poweliks Cleaner and it will begin to search for the infection. If the tool detects Poweliks, it will state that it found it and then ask if you wish to remove it.
    ESET Poweliks Cleaner Removal
    If Poweliks is detected, then press the Y button on your keyboard. ESET Poweliks Cleaner will now remove the Poweliks trojan from your computer.

STEP 2: Use Rkill to stop the malicious process

RKill is a program that will attempt to terminate all malicious processes associated with this infection, so that we will be able to perform the next step without being interrupted by this malicious software.

Because this utility will only stop the malicious process and does not delete any files, after running it you should not reboot your computer.
  1. You can download Rkill from the below link.
    RKILL DOWNLOAD LINK (his link will open a new web page from where you can download “RKill”)
  2. Double click on Rkill program to stop the malicious programs from running.
    Start the Rkill program
  3. RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while this utiltiy looks for malicious process and tries to end them.
    Rkill Running
  4. When the Rkill tool has completed its task, it will generate a log. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
    Rkill Program

STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes to remove the SvcHost.exe Malware

Malwarebytes is a powerful on-demand scanner which should remove the adware responsible for the SvcHost.exe Virus. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes”)
  2. When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
    Malwarebytes installer
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Malwarebytes User Account Control Prompt
  3. When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Setup Malwarebytes installer
    To install Malwarebytes on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Completing the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Perform a system scan with Malwarebytes
  5. Malwarebytes will now start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
    This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning for malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected.
    To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Malwarebytes Quarantine Selected
  7. Malwarebytes will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found.
    To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes removing malware from computer
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 4: Use HitmanPro to Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs

HitmanPro can find and remove malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. HitmanPro is designed to run alongside your antivirus suite, firewall, and other security tools.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “HitmanPro”)
  2. When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on the “hitmanpro” file to install this program on your computer.
    HitmanPro icon
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    HitmanPro User Account Control Pop-up
  3. When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
    HitmanPro setup process
  4. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
    HitmanPro scanning for SvcHost.exe virus
  5. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove malware.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  6. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Activate HitmanPro to remove malware
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 5: Double-check for malicious programs with Zemana AntiMalware Portable

Zemana AntiMalware Portable is a free utility that will scan your computer for the SvcHost.exe Virus and other malicious programs.

  1. You can download Zemana AntiMalware Portable from the below link:
    ZEMANA ANTIMALWARE PORTABLE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “Zemana AntiMalware Portable”)
  2. Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Portable” to perform a system scan with Zemana AntiMalware Free.
    Zemana AntiMalware portable
    You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this program. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to allow Zemana AntiMalware to run.
    Zemana AntiMalware User Account Control
  3. When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button to perform a system scan.
    Zemana AntiMalware Free Scan
  4. Zemana AntiMalware will now scan your computer for malicious programs. This process can take up to 10 minutes.
    Zemana AntiMalware scanning for virus
  5. When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware that has been detected. To remove all the malicious files, click on the “Next” button.
    Zemana AntiMalware Removing SvcHost.exe Virus
    Zemana AntiMalware will now start to remove all the malicious programs from your computer. When the process is complete, you can close Zemana AntiMalware and continue with the rest of the instructions.

(OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Scan your PC with Emsisoft Emergency Kit

The Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner includes the powerful Emsisoft Scanner complete with graphical user interface. Scan the infected PC for Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Dialers, Keyloggers and other malicious programs.

  1. You can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit from the below link.
    EMSISOFT EMERGENCY KIT DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit)
  2. Double-click on the “EmsisoftEmergencyKit” icon, then click on the “Extract” button.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit program
  3. On your desktop you should now have a “Start Extract Emsisoft Emergency Kit” icon, double-click on it, then when the program will start allow it to update its database.
    Update Emsisoft Emergency Kit program
  4. Once the Emsisoft Emergency Kit has update has completed,click on the “Scan” tab, and perform a “Smart Scan“.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit Smart Scan
  5. When the scan will be completed,you will be presented with a screen reporting which malicious files has Emsisoft detected on your computer, and you’ll need to click on Quarantine selected objects to remove them.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit malware removal

Your computer should now be free of malware. If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove a trojan, virus, worm or any other type of malware, please start a new thread in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.

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STELIAN PILICI
I've started MalwareTips in 2010 to help people solve their computer problems. My area of expertise includes malware removal and computer forensics. I'm active in the various online anti-malware communities where I do researches for new malware threats as they are released.

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