This article is obsolete. The images have been removed along with broken external links.
Have you noticed in Task Manager that the svchost.exe process has multiple instances and uses a lot of memory, it may even be the biggest memory user on your Windows PC. Have you then tried to figure out what it does? In this KB article Microsoft says it’s
…a generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs)
This isn’t much help. But Process Explorer For Windows is a free utility from Microsoft (that they inherited when they bought SysInternals) that can answer that question. Process Viewer for Windows can tell you what processes are managed by that process, and any other process. The screenshot below shows the main window with the lower pane enabled. The lower pane is off by default and can be shown by selecting View -> Lower Pane View from the menu or hitting <CTRL-L>.
Hovering your mouse over a process in the upper pane will show the services the process is using. Selecting/clicking a process will show it’s DLL’s <CTRL-D> or handles <CTRL-H> in the lower pane.
Double-clicking a process in the upper pane displays a multitude of properties about it.
Hitting <CTRL-I> displays System Information which is similar to task manager.
The Process Viewer for Windows provides more information that I’ll probably ever need, but maybe just enough to satisfy my curiosity. It’s another application worth having in the toolkit to troubleshoot a problem windows PC. It’s been updated for Windows Vista and is Vista compatible.