Windows 10 build 14942 splits up service hosts

This past Friday, Microsoft's official Windows blog detailed the updates coming in Windows 10 build 14942. The biggest changes will please power users and system administrators immensely. Front and center, the Windows Registry Editor is finally getting an address bar. Folks keen on hand-editing their registry will be able to copy-and-paste or manually type their way to locations in the registry. It's mind-boggling to imagine that Microsoft hasn't implemented this feature in the 23 years since the launch of Windows NT, but better late than never, we suppose.

Sysadmins should also take note of the upcoming changes to the way service hosting works in this build. Historically, Windows has grouped running services under a small number of service hosts (svchost.exe processes) to save on memory overhead. As the Windows Blog points out, that decision was made back in the era of Windows 2000, when the recommended amount of system memory was just 256 MB. In build 14942, PCs with 3.5 GB of RAM or more will run each service in its own process.

The new model has enormous benefits for both system stability and ease of maintenance. Under the current model, if a service in a shared host fails, it will take down every service in that shared host. Splitting services into their individual processes will obviously avoid this calamity. Furthermore, when a service malfunctions and starts chewing up RAM or disk I/O, it will be much easier to determine which service is at fault. Malware also likes to masquerade as a legitimate service, a deception that will be that much harder under the new model.

Besides those changes, various other parts of Windows are being updated. Users will be able to hide the app list on the Start menu in the new build, and the Photos app is getting a full UI rework with lots of quality-of-life improvements. Gesture and click detection on precision touchpads is getting an overhaul. System upgrades will remember when pre-installed apps are removed and will not re-install them. The "Active Hours" feature that lets users delay upgrades and restarts to idle hours has had its range extended to 18 hours. Finally, and most importantly, Microsoft is changing the icon for Windows Update to a more modern design.

For now, these updates are only coming to Windows Insiders on the fast ring, but they will eventually propagate all the way out to end-users. If you're eager to start typing addresses into the registry editor, becoming an Insider is free.

Comments closed
    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    It has come to the point where on some systems it’s best to disable Windows Update entirely, to unleash it later at appropriate times.
    Not on my main system, but on some relatives and a laptop or pad that is not used much. (where Pro options are not a thing)
    It’s a saddening realization to me personally. I gave it a fair chance. Fool me thrice….

      • Klimax
      • 3 years ago

      No need to fully disable. Prior 10 just manual and in 10 GPO can achieve same thing:
      Configure Automatic Updates – “2 – notify…”

      It will nag you, but that’s that.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    New version is telling me I’m low on memory when I shouldn’t be, so suspect it is doing something it shouldn’t. I think it kicked me out a game too so not happy right now.

      • Klimax
      • 3 years ago

      Explanation is complex but outcome is very simple.

      Windows 10 compresses memory pages to conserve memory, but still keeps uncompressed size to ensure that when page is requested that system can service request. YOu can have free physical memory but if there is application with well compressible pages (memory leaks count too and are very well compressible) then it can cause system to reach uper limit of memory and then you get warning.
      Aka difference between physical memory and committed memory aka total requested memory by applications and services. (IIRC sum of physical memory and pagefile(s)) It is hard limit and Windows will not go over it.

      Task monitor – tab performance can show you details and also Sysinternals Process Explorer has facilities to show things like that. (View->System Information)

        • synthtel2
        • 3 years ago

        Why bother compressing memory if they’re not going to allow more memory use than if it were uncompressed? Compressing stuff that’s being swapped to disk anyway could have a small speed benefit (sometimes), but in RAM it’s just a negative all around if they’re not getting more space out of it.

        Doing it right isn’t that difficult – on Linux, I use a compressed ramdisk for my swap, and everything Just Works. The implementation is simple and shenanigan-free, and it’s good for expanding my 8 gigs of physical RAM to 12 or 14 in a pinch (could be more if I chose the slower algo). It obviously wouldn’t be a good solution if I had 10 gig working sets on a regular basis, but it does a great job at letting a bit of overflow happen without touching the SSD.

        When I hear of memory compression on any platform, that’s what I think of. Is that what Windows is trying to do?

          • Klimax
          • 3 years ago

          Key objective for compression is to avoid swapping to disk. That’s why committed memory is hard limit, because it prevents situation where system cannot restore compressed pages on access. Also present in previous versions, just without compressed pages adding new avenues to exhaust memory.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            I don’t think I follow. So long as the compressed pages aren’t taking literally all the physical RAM, things aren’t going to actually break. It doesn’t take much space to decompress any particular page, and some other page could be compressed first to make room if need be. As such, it’s entirely possible to have 12+ gigs committed on 8 gigs of physical RAM and not upset the OOM killer. As the compressed pages get closer to filling up RAM on their own, things are going to get pretty slow, but not crashy.

            [url=https://i.imgur.com/XU9f8gr.png<]Here's[/url<] a (somewhat artificial) example. I created a massive yet highly compressible image in Gimp and gave it a nominal footprint of about 12.5 gigs (plus ~1.5 for the rest of the system for a total of ~14 gigs committed). I only have 8 gigs of RAM and no swap space or file on disk. The "Swp" bar up top is the compressed ramdisk (it looks like swap to most of the OS). The resident memory meters on the left don't count what's been swapped/compressed. The ramdisk is taking about a half gig of physical to stash about 7 gigs of what the rest of the system considers perfectly valid memory (as seen in the lower right). The system is responsive and usable in this state, unlike if this were going to disk.

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    Now all we need is a way to make the days to run six hours shorter.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]users will be able to hide the app list on the Start menu in the new build[/quote<] But I want to hide the metro tiles when I pin something (which I don't anymore, because tiles) [quote<] Photos app is getting a full UI rework with lots of quality-of-life improvements.[/quote<] So more touch screen optimisation? Could we just get the old (win 7) one back, thanks [quote<] System upgrades will remember when pre-installed apps are removed and will not re-install them. [/quote<] #Courage [quote<] range extended to 18 hours.[/quote<] #Courage[super<]2[/super<] [quote<]Microsoft is changing the icon for Windows Update to a more modern design.[/quote<] #Courage[super<]3[/super<]

    • meerkt
    • 3 years ago

    Better registry editors, though the best would be a combination of all:

    [url<]http://www.torchsoft.com/en/rw_information.html[/url<] [url<]http://www.dcsoft.com/products/regeditx/[/url<] [url<]http://aezay.dk/aezay/regcmd/[/url<]

    • C-A_99
    • 3 years ago

    “System upgrades will remember when pre-installed apps are removed and will not re-install them.”

    Good riddance, it’s about time!

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    If only the people making these wise, sensible decisions at the engine level of Windows 10 could also be in charge of making the interface.

    Instead, it seems technical issues with Windows 10’s GUI are being worked on solely by marketing, sales, PR, advertising, clowns, and touchscreen fanatics.

      • Meadows
      • 3 years ago

      I find the interface pretty good at this point. The only jarring remnant of old systems seems to be the “classic” Control Panel and its ilk (“System”, “Disk Management”, “Device Manager”, et cetera) that they won’t be able to get rid of for a number of years due to compatibility reasons, I imagine.

        • meerkt
        • 3 years ago

        I’m certain you meant the remnants of the classical Control Panel are the only [i<]good[/i<] thing? 🙂

          • Corrado
          • 3 years ago

          I just don’t understand why you have to goto 2 different Program lists to uninstall things. No, I don’t want 3D builder, but its not in the ‘old’ list, only in the new list, while some installs are listed in both. Silly.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah. It’s still two almost incompatible operating systems tangled together into one product:

            There’s the ModernUI, dumbed-down interface that’s too big for desktops, bland-looking and clearly still touch-first with desktop mouse users as an afterthought.

            Then there’s Windows 7 showing through all the cracks where ModernUI hasn’t infected yet. As much as those things are looking old and dated, they still [i<]work better[/i<]. I think overall W10 has more good ideas than bad ideas, but the number of genuinely good changes is almost matched by facepalmingly stupid steps in the wrong direction.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 3 years ago

        I really hope they get rid of the new stuff rather than the old stuff.

      • meerkt
      • 3 years ago

      But the Windows Update icon was updated!

        • Ninjitsu
        • 3 years ago

        #Courage

    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    Those are some pretty solid improvements.

    • I.S.T.
    • 3 years ago

    Oh my god this will make the occasional netsvcs bug so much easier to figure out.

    • Meadows
    • 3 years ago

    Sounds rather nice. If they keep doing this sort of thing twice a year, they may well objectively get to boast the best consumer OS in a pretty short amount of time.

    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    Baby steps in the right direction; not quite there yet.

    Rather than blacklisting “active hours” from updates/reboots, the user should instead be able to whitelist hours where it’s okay to perform updates/reboots….on a WEEKLY basis. As small as a 6hr window.

      • odizzido
      • 3 years ago

      or you know, allow people to update when/if they want. Having to tell programs like steam it’s not okay to update between 6AM and 4AM or simply blocking connections on your router is pretty silly.

        • The Egg
        • 3 years ago

        I don’t disagree, I just don’t think they’re going to allow users to defer indefinitely again.

        A small weekly period of time whitelisted by the user would be acceptable to me.

          • odizzido
          • 3 years ago

          it’s not their choice though, not really. Anyone with a router that’s even somewhat okay and a little time to learn can block W10 updates. Most people won’t bother though.

            • dyrdak
            • 3 years ago

            no need for a router. Just set all your connections to metered (registry tweak away) and be done with it (downloads only when manually selected, the way it should be).

            • Voldenuit
            • 3 years ago

            I think you can only set wireless connections to metered for that trick. I have it set on my laptop, but don’t see the same options on my desktop.

          • morphine
          • 3 years ago

          Agreed.

          What us geeks have to understand is that the average user, given the options, will NEVER make updates, period, full stop.

          Having said that, the current schedule limitations were indeed far too, er, limited.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 3 years ago

            But that’s for the user to decide, not MS.

            At the moment non-pro users have their PC restart in the middle of their work, or updates end up being applied at the wrong time (involving restarts, etc). If MS really wants to do this forced update nonsense properly, then they need to implement silent, background updates.

            I’d also like to see more than anecdotal evidence that the average user will never update their software. I know people who don’t, mostly because it prevents them from using their computer/device, but also those who don’t see what they’ll gain. If the messaging is good then people will update; if the process doesn’t interrupt the user then they will update.

            Forced updates are like the metro UI – stupid.

            • Spunjji
            • 3 years ago

            They left it to the user to decide and the malware-ridden mess that was Windows XP and Windows 7 later in its life were the end results.

            I have a fairly tech-savvy friend who had weird problems installing GTA V on Windows 7. After A LOT of messing around, it turned out he wasn’t even running SP2 because he had disabled updates years back.

            They have the stats on this, so I understand why they made the decisions they did. I don’t LIKE those decisions but they make some sense.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 3 years ago

            The average user won’t dig into arcane settings to set up whitelists and blacklists.

            Just hide the option sufficiently and let power users do what they want.

    • HunterZ
    • 3 years ago

    The service host change sounds great. Just this last weekend I was noticing that the netsvcs service host was triggering a ton of page faults, but with ~10 services running under it there was no hope of finding the culprit.

    I suspect a lot of companies will get called on the carpet for crappy service behavior, once they no longer have the anonymity of being grouped with other services behind a service host.

      • meerkt
      • 3 years ago

      Don’t know if exactly the same, but can be done on earlier versions of Windows as well:
      [url<]https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvistanow/2009/01/30/how-to-separate-out-dll-based-services-that-use-a-shared-generic-service-host-process-name-svchost-exe-for-troubleshooting/[/url<]

    • WaltC
    • 3 years ago

    14942 is rock solid for me…I enjoy beta testing (sometimes) but like LostCat says, if you don’t want to beta test then stick with the Anniversary build (14393.223, now, I believe.)

    • LostCat
    • 3 years ago

    I like the new build, but I still recommend most people just stick with Release or Release Preview. There’s really not much point to it other than it being kinda cool…just more stupid bugs to deal with.

    Still, neat changes.

    • sweatshopking
    • 3 years ago

    Welcome group of changes.
    #windows7isbest

      • Acidicheartburn
      • 3 years ago

      Recently went back to 7 on my gaming machine and I don’t regret it. Solved a lot of issues I was having on 10 and I find it far more user friendly.

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah. 7 makes for a great gaming machine. Since dx12 games are all stupid.

          • odizzido
          • 3 years ago

          They are all stupid. Game devs should stop using vendor locked garbage….well, all devs should really, but games are the only thing windows locking my desktop.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            so they should stop using DirectX?

            • odizzido
            • 3 years ago

            Among other things, yes.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            mkay

          • Ninjitsu
          • 3 years ago

          I had to install AoE II HD on C: because I was out of space elsewhere on my laptop. But, C:\Program Files seems protected in Win 10. So Steam couldn’t write to that dir without admin permissions (and the only clue i had to that fix was a repeated disk access failure). Then, AoE II couldn’t launch because it couldn’t access [i<]it's own files[/i<], so I had to run that as admin too. And yeah, DX12 games haven't brought a revolution or anything, tbh.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            dx12 games are JUST getting started.

            • LostCat
            • 3 years ago

            Program Files has been protected since Vista.

            Steams service is supposed to take care of any of that, but I never keep Steam in there anyway.

      • torquer
      • 3 years ago

      real men run XP

        • Krogoth
        • 3 years ago

        True champs run MS DOS 2.0 with Windows 1.0 on top.

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