The latest Windows 10 Insider build will kill the confusing 'svchost.exe'

Windows 10 Laptop
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Hot on the heels of announcing a Windows 10 event, Microsoft rolled out a substantial update for Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring today, featuring some serious tweaks to background processes and the death of a beloved icon.

That’s right, the old Windows Update icon is no more. Microsoft has officially axed the venerable box-with-swirly-thing icon, in favor of a more streamlined sideways isosceles trapezoid, with a couple arrows inside.

All right, that’s not the biggest part of this update. The big news is actually behind the scenes. In the latest Windows Insider build, Windows 10 will handle background processes in a fundamentally different way than previous versions of Windows. Microsoft stated in a blog post that the change is meant to enhance performance for higher-end systems.

“If your PC has 3.5+ GB of memory, you may notice an increased number of processes in Task Manager. While this change may look concerning at first glance, many will be excited to find out the motivation behind this change,” wrote Microsoft engineer, Dona Sarkar in a blog post today.

Back when PCs had a lot less RAM available, Windows started bundling processes into service hosts. You know that little guy in your process list that always seems to be taking up more than its fair share of memory, the svchost.exe? Well, Microsoft is giving it the boot on systems with more than 3.5 GB of RAM.

“Because of the dramatic increase in available memory over the years, the memory-saving advantage of service hosts has diminished,” Sarkar continued.

Since we all have a lot more memory than we used to, this latest Insider build is doing away with service hosts and breaking things down into individual processes, in hopes of increasing your PC’s overall reliability. By separating things out, your PC’s background processes will be less reliant on one another. When they were bundled into service hosts, if one went down, it dragged down a lot of other unrelated processes.

Also, keeping processes separate makes them easier to troubleshoot and reduces security vulnerabilities by keeping everyone in their own lane. Naturally, critical system services will remain grouped.

It’s definitely a welcome change, and one of the more substantial changes to come out of the Windows Insider Fast Ring in the last couple weeks. The rest of the changes in this most recent build are the usual bundle of bug fixes and minor tweaks, which you can check out here on the Microsoft blog.


Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.

Microsoft is getting ready for a coming wave of foldable Windows 10 devices

Windows 10 might soon have a new look. A leaked string for an internal Windows 10 19H1 build shows that Microsoft is getting ready to build Windows 10 for a future wave of foldable devices.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.