Service Host: Local System is a famous hogger of resources, such as CPU and disk utilization. This is because it is actually a container for a bunch of Windows system related services. You can verify that it is really this host clogging up your PC by clicking Ctrl + Alt + Del and looking at the statistics in Task Manager.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple options you can use to fix these issues.
Disable Service Host: Local System tasks
These tasks are grouped in one in Task manager and it’s not alway obvious which one is the problematic one.
- Enter Task manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del.
- Select Service Host: Local System, then find the services using the most memory. Right-click them one by one, then press End task.
- Once the extreme memory usage has decreased, you have found the service that’s causing the problem. Right-click that one and select Open services.
- Find the problematic service in the list in Services manager, right-click it, then press Stop.
If the high usage did not go down, you might need to disable other services. Read on to see how!
Disable Superfetch and BITS
- Type “services” in the Search bar, then click Open.
- Navigate to Background Intelligent Transfer Service, then double-click on it.
- Click on Stop, then set Startup type to Disabled. Click Apply, then OK.
- Navigate to Superfetch. Repeat step 2-3.
- Restart your computer, then check if the issue has been solved.
If the high CPU/disk usage persists, continue with these other methods.
Disable automatic updates
It might be the automatic updates that are using up your resources. Try disabling them to see if that’s really the problem.
- Type “services” in the Search bar, then click Open.
- Navigate to Windows update service , then double-click it.
- Under the General tab, find Startup type, then select Disabled. Click Apply, then OK.
- Go back to Task manager, then end the Service Host: Local System task.
If this didn’t fix the issue, you can try some other methods.
Fix the memory leak in the non-paged memory pool
Even if you eliminated all the obvious culprits, there is a potential memory leak in the memory section that is not part of the paged memory. You can fix that with this registry tweak.
- Type “regedit” into the Search bar, then click Open.
- Navigate to the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > ControlSet001 > Services > Ndu. Right-click the Start value and choose Modify.
- Change the Value data to 4. This will disable the service. Click on OK.
- Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
Once it restarts, the CPU or Disk usage of the System Host: Local System (Network Restricted) should be greatly reduced. If this is not the case, there are still a number of options you can try.
Running SFC and DISM
- Type “cmd” in the Search bar and click on Run as administrator. Accept the UAC prompt when it comes up.
- In the Command prompt window, Type “sfc /scannow“, then hit Enter.
- The scan will run on its own. Once you see the message that it is complete, type “dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth“, then hit Enter.
Wait for the scan to complete, then check if the issue has been resolved. If it hasn’t, you need to tinker with some more hidden settings.
Note: If you run into an SFC /Scannow error when starting the scan, don’t worry. We have written dedicated articles on what to do if SFC scannow is not working, including:
- Windows Resource Protection Could Not Perform The Requested Operation
- Windows resource protection could not start the repair service
- Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. This will open Task manager. Click on More details.
- Find Service Host: Local System. Within this process, select Windows Update and the Update Orchestrator Service. Click End task.
- A confirmation dialog will pop up. Check Abandon unsaved data and shut down, then click Shutdown.
Check if the issue has been resolved.
Change processor scheduling
Your CPU works differently depending on what you optimize it for. You can change this setting easily.
- Type “advanced system” in the Search bar. Choose View advanced system settings.
- Under the Advanced tab, in the Performance box, choose Settings.
- Under the Advanced tab, in the first box, click on the checkbox next to Programs. Click Apply then OK.
Check if this has decreased the high CPU/disk problems. If the issue persists, there are a few more drastic solutions you can try.
Perform a clean boot
Third-party applications might cause high CPU usage. These services are usually not critical, therefore we can experiment with starting the computer without them. This is what a clean boot means. Some of the apps that are known to cause this problem are the following:
- Virtual Disc App
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- MSI Command Center
- VPN Chrome Extensions
- HP Related Processes, especially HP Help
In the following steps we are going to perform a clean boot.
- Type “msconfig” in the Search bar, then press Open.
- Under the Services tab, uncheck Hide all Microsoft services. Click on Disable all, then OK.
- Under the Startup tab, click on Open Task Manager.
- Under the Startup tab in Task manager, click on any application that is set to Enabled, then select Disable.
Once you’re finished with all the applications in the list, restart your computer. Check if the error persists. If the error is cleared, enable the services one by one to decide which one caused the high CPU usage.
Disable Windows Update Delivery Optimization
Delivery optimization in Windows can save you some time, but it might also increase the CPU usage by Service Host. This is a problem for you, you should try turning off the memory optimization.
- Press Windows + I to open Settings, and choose Update&Security.
- Click on Delivery Optimization. Disable Allow downloads from other PCs.
- Restart your system and check if the problem still persists.
There are many possible causes for the high CPU and disk usage of Service Host: Local System. Ultimately, it is possible that you need a new CPU. But hopefully one of the above methods, which have all been tried and tested, solved the problem for you!