There are many mysterious services and processes hogging Windows, and Cisvc.exe is one of them. A quick Google search on the topic reveals little more than a few sentences on what it is. So we’ve decided to explain it in detail, and let you know how to stop it from slowing down your computer once and for all.

Cisvc.exe, or “Content Indexing Service,” is actually a program that’s part of the central Windows OS indexing service. It’s purpose is to monitor the indexing service to make sure it doesn’t use too many resources in terms of memory and CPU usage. Outside of the indexing service, Cisvc.exe is also used to monitor other low-memory situations, as well as a popular name for a certain type of spyware software- more on that later.

The problem with Cisvc.exe is that while it’s supposed to help memory hogging situations, it sometimes does the opposite and hogs resources itself. If you’ve ever taken a closer look at the CPU usage of Cisvc.exe, you’d see that it can sometimes use as much as 90 to 100 percent of your systems resources. The irony is that a program designed to help rid your system of resource-intensive applications and processes, hogs your resources while it’s working, which in turn slows your computer down considerably.

Cisvc.exe is often times associated solely with your computer’s indexing service. This service is intended to help you find files and folders more easily and quickly by indexing everything on your hard drive(s).  The service should only index while the computer is not in use, or is only being used minimally, and thus the Cisvc.exe program was created to control indexing to make sure the service wasn’t taking processing power away from whatever the user may be doing.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve most likely noticed that Cisvc.exe is taking way to much CPU usage that it normally should, or that your computer is noticeably slower, and Cisvc.exe is the only program running. There are a few different things that could be going on, so let’s take a look at what’s happening to disrupt Cisvc.exe from operating properly.

1.) Cisvc.exe could be trying to do its job properly, but is confused by the number of programs or services you have running at any given time, therefore causing it to over-react so to speak.  Sometimes Cisvc.exe simply opens wrong when Windows starts, and backfires causing intense memory and CPU usage. Sometimes, a simple system restart can fix the problem, but most of the time it requires some simple tweaks to the Windows indexing service which will in turn effect how Cisvc.exe operates.

2.) Sometimes Cisvc.exe, while monitoring other resource intensive operations on the system, can get tangled up with certain devices or applications on your system. For example, Cisvc.exe has been known to attach itself to the CD-ROM drive of a system, causing the drive to show a “device in use by another program” error. When this happens, the CD-ROM drive cannot be opened, and Cisvc.exe is responsible for massive CPU usage and therefore a heavily slowed down computer. Again, a system restart may fix the issue, but it will likely require some minor system tweaking.

3.) The “Cisvc.exe” program that you see operating on your system may also be a malicious spyware program associated with a “Key Logger” program and process combination. This is spyware that does a variety of things in the background of your system, and uses a lot of resources while doing so.  Spyware software often uses the names of common Windows programs and processes, such as Cisvc.exe, to disguise itself. If Cisvc.exe is using more resources than it should, or if the problem arises very quickly, you could have been infected with spyware that’s using Cisvc.exe as its name. If you’ve tried deleting or canceling the program, and it won’t go away, this is another sign that it’s spyware and not the real Cisvc.exe.

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons Cisvc.exe might be slowing down your computer, let’s move on to how you can stop it. Most likely, some simple system settings can curb most of the problems associated with Cisvc.exe, but in the case it’s associated with spyware, you’ll have to take some more drastic measures. Since Cisvc.exe is most commonly associated with the Windows indexing service, changing the way system indexing operates on your computer can help you avoid these problems in the future.

If you’re having problems with Cisvc.exe slowing down your system, the first step is to disable the indexing service all together. If you don’t use the Windows Search feature much, the indexing service not running shouldn’t effect you to much. If you do use the Windows Search function, you can opt to leave indexing on, but change the way it operates to better handle Cisvc.exe. To disable Indexing all together, go to your Control Panel and choose Add or Remove Programs. In the window that opens, choose “Add or Remove Windows Components.” Uncheck the box next to “Indexing Service,” and click OK. This will disable indexing completely, and should fix many problems associated with Cisvc.exe slowing down your system. Stopping the indexing service alone will help with your overall system speed and CPU usage.

Many people experiencing problems will often want to get rid or disable Cisvc.exe, but remember that it’s a vital system process and shouldn’t be removed. This is because it does protect you from CPU-hogging processes and applications, but seems to have problems with associated with the Windows indexing service.  Disabling indexing is the way to go, not disabling Cisvc.exe.

If Cisvc.exe is actually spyware operating in the background of your system, you need to get spyware removal software that’s suited especially for “keylogger-type” spyware situations.  Key Logger spyware will actually allow for multiple remote user connections, takes screenshots of activity on your computer and sends this information back to the hackers via FTP and email-based logs. In other words, it’s a very malicious and harmful process, and should be removed ASAP. There are many “Key Logger Removal” tools available for free online, a quick Google search should give you plenty of options. Overall spyware software might not include Key Logger removal, so getting one specially suited for Key Loggers is recommended.

Hopefully, this information has educated you on what exactly Cisvc.exe is, how and why it slows down your computer, and some suggestions on how to stop if from happening in the future.

This article originally appeared in on February 15, 2009.

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