Number of Handles in Windows Task Manager

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Number of Handles in Windows Task Manager

Post by RonLynch on Thu 15 Jul 2010, 12:21 am

Good Evening… Greetings to all Members from new member RonLynch.

I wonder if someone can help me?

May I please raise a question concerning Windows Task Manager, in particular the Performance tab and the numbers of handles displayed.

Over the 2-year life of my laptop (Vista Home SP2), it has displayed around 22,000 handles after a restart. This has slowly risen to perhaps 30,000 – 32,000 after perhaps 7 - 10 days of normal home computing use. It has always appeared very stable within this range.

About three weeks ago, I noticed that the number of handles displayed was over 70,000. A restart reduced this to around 35,000 instead of the usual 22,000. However, the number of handles began to increase very rapidly at the rate of several thousand per hour. So now, after a day’s use from restart, the number is typically into 6 figures.

Using the Processes and Services tabs of Windows Task Manager, I can see that the largest increases in handles is taking place within the following groups of services…

svchost.exe, netsvcs
svchost.exe, NetworkService
svchost.exe, LocalSystemNetworkRestricted
svchost.exe, LocalService

I have naturally checked whether malware might be responsible. I’ve repeatedly scanned with a number of different AV programs and rootkit detectors. Apart from AVG picking up a couple of viruses, the deletion of which made no difference, I feel that I can safely regard my system as clean.

Just a few days ago, I was even more perturbed to discover that my wife’s laptop (running XP SP3) was behaving in a likewise fashion. The number of handles had, similar to mine, become very unstable, increasing by tens of thousands over a day. We both use the same home network. However, our son’s laptop running Windows 7, also connected to our network, has been unaffected by this phenomenon.

If anyone can offer any suggestions or assistance, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in anticipation.



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Re: Number of Handles in Windows Task Manager

Post by Gabethebabe on Thu 15 Jul 2010, 8:33 am

If you think you have malware problems, please read this and after that post here.


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Re: Number of Handles in Windows Task Manager

Post by RonLynch on Thu 15 Jul 2010, 10:05 am

Thanks for your reply and guidance, much appreciated.

With regard to the 'Updates to Perform', I note there is now a Java SE Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 Update 21 rather than Update 20. Presume I should update to 21?

Likewise with Adobe, the update available is 9.3.3 rather than 9.3.

With regard to my wife's XP laptop problem mentioned in my original posting, this was updated last night with the latest Microsoft security update (KB2229593). Upon restart, the number of handles dropped back to 'normal' on her computer and is no longer increasing.

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Re: Number of Handles in Windows Task Manager

Post by Gabethebabe on Thu 15 Jul 2010, 10:40 am

Yes, update Java and Adobe Reader.

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