HelpSvc.exe has gone insane!!


Ok, for the past two weeks I’ve come back to my computer only to notice that HelpSvc.exe is taking up 100% of one CPU and System is taking up about 60% of another.  I’m not the only one who had this happen to him.  Kevin has the same problem but he got around it by disabling the help service.  I don’t want o be so drastic (yet).  Does anyone know why this is happening??

Edit: there’s a Knowledge Base Article about this


Comments (41)

  1. Pavel Lebedinsky says:

    I’ve had this problem on my Win2003 machine. As far as I can tell, it’s a bug that first appeared in the W2K3 SP1 builds and I suspect that recent security hotfixes introduced it into RTM as well.

    Disabling HelpSvc is the only solution I know of.

  2. Skywing says:

    The same happens to one of my Win2003 machines; I’ve seen it using upwards of 1GB of RAM (!) at times…

  3. whoa says:

    you can also turn your help service off.

  4. whoa: I don’t want to turn it off 🙂

    Help is a good thing. Insane help is not.

  5. whoa: I don’t want to turn it off 🙂

    Help is a good thing. Insane help is not.

  6. Roman says:

    It happened to my XP/Home too, so it’s not w2k3 specific.

  7. Davis Grana says:

    I happens on XP Professional as well. What the heck is this help service doing anyway??

  8. An E Linux says:

    Microsoft is notorious for weird service functions, and 75%+ run-time of apparently useless or ‘unbusy’ services.

    One example is the System Idle Process — it is sluggish to adapt to changing system conditions, and slows computer function after you have let it have any significant period of inactivity under XP/Pro.

    It hogs cycles with excessive ‘HLT’ functions, and effectively boots out legitimate processes to hang out up there.

    This is WITHOUT the System Indexing service or Restore running — I killed both.

    One day, I expect to have reasonably well behaved system-processes; but that day, and company, is not today, nor is it Microsoft.

    Kill the process — for your system’s (and hence your own) good.

  9. An E Linux: Very funny. That gave me quite a laugh 😉

  10. courtney says:

    you cannot kill the service through normal task viewing and killing in windows. what other way is there? through a dos window?

  11. Courtney: you can kill the task through the task manager’s processes list.

  12. acoman says:

    I have had a problems lately with windows freezing. When I am home in mid browsing/listening/whatever, the screen freezes and everything becomes unresponsive. When i leave the computer on and go to work, I come home to a blank monitor, again unresponsive. Starting up often nothing happens, or it freezes on startup. After one particularly slow startup I opened task manager to find wmiprvse.exe and helpsvc.exe winding down and closing. Any thoughts on this?

  13. sjgabq says:

    this is happening to me too…my startup is very slow…the windows startup sound does not happen until 2 mins after the desktop has loaded…and ill check the task mgr and helpsvc.exe takes forever and i cant use anything until that stops

  14. sjgabq says:

    this is happening to me too…my startup is very slow…the windows startup sound does not happen until 2 mins after the desktop has loaded…and ill check the task mgr and helpsvc.exe takes forever and i cant use anything until that stops

  15. tdog says:

    should I just delete the helpsvc.exe file? Is that a dumb move?

  16. dB333 says:

    Yes, that IS a dumb move. You can get to your Services by opening Control Panel (Can access from Windows Explorer) and opening "Administrative Tools" –> there is a Services icon in there where you can find and disable "Help and Support" (Helpsvc.exe)

  17. Mr. Frustrated says:

    I have ,y Help and Support service disabled.

    HelpSvc.exe still launches itself and consumes my CPU.

    I delete helpsvc.exe, only to find it automagically reappears in a second or two – ditto to renaming it. The bugger comes back, as does pchshell.dll.

    I don’t use and don’t want the Microsoft help – I find google much better. I’d rather turn the D*#! thing off but can’t figure out how.

    Any help out there?

  18. razorlock says:

    Have the same issue on XP SP 2 IT-pro. So I guess it doesn’t discriminate. Came home today and found my HD light blinking. Checked it out and found "helpsvc.exe" (lowercaps) -SYSTEM- had eaten 30 mb of RAM and was doing 70% cpu.

  19. Flick says:

    Here’s to Microsoft for you. I looked at the link posted above. According to Microsoft the problem was fixed in XP SP2. If that is so, why does it still occur _after_ SP2 is installed? Doesn’t "fixed" mean it shouldn’t happen anymore? Never mind the fact that helpsvc.exe was taking up all my CPU when I hadn’t even launched it. Apparently it was feeling neglected and decided to pop out of the wood work to remind me that next time I will seriously consider buying a Mac.

  20. Frank says:

    Whoever posted the tip to kill the service in Administrative Tools: THANK YOU. I have been killing it with task manager for a long while now… this now helped permanently eliminate the problem of an out of control CPU (and whirring of the fan) on my laptop running XP Pro. For those in doubt…disable it now. I have had to kill the process every time I return to my laptop after an idle period anyway, so what can it hurt? It sure wasn;t actually "helping" with anything.

  21. Mike says:

    unplugged network cable hard drive light stopped blinking helpsvc went to 100% cpu…..was this program sending data to msoft?

  22. Raja Badhan says:

    start -> run -> net stop helpctr.exe

    start -> run -> net stop helpsvr.exe

    you mus also then Rebuild the Help Centre service.

    Help and Support

    Update:

    This issue can occur if one or more of the PCHealth components in your

    computer are damaged.

    To resolve this issue:

    1. It is important to note if you have recently made alterations to your

    computer before this problem occurred, or if the Help and Support Center

    ever worked correctly. If you have recently made alterations to your

    computer before this problem occurred, try to undo the changes you made or

    uninstall the hardware or software that could have caused the issue. After

    you do so, test to determine if the issue is resolved, and if it is, skip

    the remaining steps. If the issue is not resolved, continue to the next

    step.

    2. Remove the .cab files from the Packagestore folder, and then rebuild the

    original Help and Support Center:

    a. Click Start, click Run, type "cmd" (without the quotation marks), and

    then click OK to open a command prompt. Type "net stop helpsvc" (without

    the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    b. Type "cd /d windirpchealthhelpctr" (without the quotation marks),

    where windir is the Windows folder, and then press ENTER.

    c. Type "rd packagestore /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then

    press ENTER.

    d. Type "cd binaries" (without the quotation marks), and then press

    ENTER.

    e. Type "start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install" (without

    the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    f. If any of the following processes are running, stop them:

    helpsvc.exe

    helphost.exe

    helpctr.exe

    To stop a process, right-click the taskbar, and then click Task

    Manager. Click the Processes tab, click the process you want to stop, and

    then click End Process.

    g. At the command prompt, type "net start helpsvc" (without the

    quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    3. If the Help and Support Center has not been customized by an OEM, skip

    to the next step. If the Help and Support Center has been customized by an

    OEM, completely refresh the Help and Support Center:

    a. Click Start, click Run, type "cmd" (without the quotation marks), and

    then click OK to open a command prompt. Type "net stop helpsvc" (without

    the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    b. Type "cd /d windirpchealthhelpctr" (without the quotation marks),

    where windir is the Windows folder, and then press ENTER.

    c. Type "rd packagestore /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then

    press ENTER.

    d. Type "rd installedskus /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then

    press ENTER.

    e. Type "cd binaries" (without the quotation marks), and then press

    ENTER.

    f. Type "start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install" (without

    the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    g. Type "start /w helpsvc /register" (without the quotation marks), and

    then press ENTER.

    h. If any of the following processes are running, stop them:

    helpsvc.exe

    helphost.exe

    helpctr.exe

    To stop a process, right-click the taskbar, and then click Task

    Manager. Click the Processes tab, click the process you want to stop, and

    then click End Process.

    i. At the command prompt, type "net start helpsvc" (without the

    quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

    NOTE: The preceding procedure should not negatively affect an

    OEM-customized Help and Support Center. However, it does remove any other

    .cab files from the Packstorage folder, such as the Windows XP support

    tools (which adds their table of contents into the Help and Support

    Center).

    4. If the preceding steps do not resolve the issue, use the Windows XP

    CD-ROM to start your computer, and then run a repair (in-place upgrade)

    installation.

    Please be aware that even with SP2, the problem may still exist (40% chance of this).

    If your in the u contact microsoft give them this case# SRQ050625600160

    The problem still may exist because of problems with the Help file in c:/windows/prefact/ (cant remember the file name but its help sumin .exe) as well as problems in c:/windows/inf folder and the c:/windows/ime

    there are 4 causes for problem…

    1 – when installing pc o.s. the setup installed wrong code

    2 – corruption of files

    3 – windows xp no sp and windows xp sp1 upgraders to sp2 may have had a configuration error when updating causing conflicts

    4 – the svchost is corrupted or damaged

  23. Moop says:

    My cat’s breath smells like cat food.

  24. Kingkong says:

    Thanks so much for the fix

  25. Weedo says:

    I Just had this problem on XP PRO SP2. My comp didint freeze or lock up and it was stable (as its a pretty fast machine) but this system process was using 100% CPU and 304mb ram.

    Searched the process name on google and see that everone else has this problem.

    Anyway, I have windows help as it takes ages to load up when you click it and its pretty unresponsive.

  26. dean j woodward says:

    hello my sound has gone on the computer i have gone to sound controll pannel i have set everything but nothing has happenedcould you help with it or give me a website to go to , to help me

    your fathfully

    deanjwoodward

  27. Bob says:

    There is a simple solution that seems to work (only been running it a couple of days) at the following site:

    http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist_h.htm

  28. Heidi says:

    Well you can’t delete this HelpSVC.exe. I tried that six times. It kept regenerating itself as if by magic.

    And you can’t rename it either as I tried that a few times. It does the same thing as if you deleted it. Just regenerates itself with the proper name.

    The best tip was above for just turning the help service off. I still don’t know if that will fix the problem of this taking all my CPU at random times but I am pretty certain that it will.

    Heidi

  29. Harald says:

    I think I’ve found a easier solution.

    Set startuptype for the service (Help and Support) to Manual, not Automatic.

    I’m not 100% sure if this fixed the problem, but I have used my PC for 6 hours now, made two restarts and it seems to that the service stopped starting without beeing asked for it.

  30. Tinker says:

    For Heidi, and anyone else, the helpsvc.exe is just one of many files in 200 and after that are protected by the system…

    See microsoft knowledgebase article http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/system_file_protection.mspx for info.

  31. Tim says:

    I got this problem after I tried windows updates. The windows updates crashed for some reason when I tried to install them. After that I noticed my cpu was at 100% most of the time.

    A quick fix is to run msconfig and uncheck the help and services under the services tab, then apply and reboot.

    I don’t use help and services, so this solved my problem.

    Good Luck.

  32. voland says:

    People should be paid for having such a crap Os as windows – not vice-versa. I feel ofended that every time there’s sth wrong I have to upgrade (—> buy) another crap from microsoft. come on !!!!do they really think that we are ass***es. trying with gentoo now – if sth is wrong I can only blame myself.

  33. Timo says:

    Win XP Pro SP1. helpsvc.exe consuming several hundred MB of RAM, but wasn’t eating all my CPU, and my system, including mouse interaction, was very sluggish indeed. Have stopped the service in Adminstrative Tools ->Services, disabled the service, and told Windoze to Take No Action if it should fail to start.

    When a company reaps the benefits of a monopoly, as MSFT does on the desktop, it has much less incentive to respond to user complaints than does a company truly engaged in (not merely blathering about) stiff competition. This market fact holds true even if the monopolist employs intelligent, dedicated, skilled engineers and software developers who strive for excellence, as Micrsoft does. These folks are not the ones setting priorities and release schedules. Death. Taxes. Windows Upgrades.

  34. 2kaud says:

    I’ve just started to have this problem with helpsvc.exe AFTER installing the latest hotfixes for XP Professional SP1!!!

    I wrote a quick and dirty program to tell me when helpsvc.exe started and everytime I had the problem helpsvc.exe was running straight after I had logged on after a reboot – so something during boot startup was causing it to run.

    I think I’ve managed to fix it by setting the Help and Support Services to Manual start and following the instructions at http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist_h.htm

    However, I’m wondering if the problem is fire-wall related as MS article 555179 talks about having to manually configure XP SP2 firewall for Help to work.

    I’m using Norton Personnel Firewall 2006 with SP1 and under a restricted XP account this firewall blocks any attempt to access the internet by any program it doesn’t know about. If helpsvc.exe is trying to access the Internet and is being blocked, does it keep trying repeatedly – using more and more resources because of bad programming – until it succeeds or is killed?

    Does anyone have any thoughts/knowledge on this???

  35. Mike says:

    I’m using Norton 2006 and have not had the issue.  helpsvc.exe has run before, but ends quickly without consuming much CPU.  

  36. jerome says:

    who the heck even needs it, just disable and be done with that crap.