What is dllhost.exe? How do I remove it from Windows 10?

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Dllhost.exe isn't a virus, however, malware programs, such as Trojans, other viruses and worms could be given the same file name.
  • You can manually delete infected files, but a more elegant solution is to use a dedicated antivirus program.
  • DLL issues appear very often, for any other problems, check our Fix DLL errors in Windows 10 section for more similar solutions.
  • In case you need more solutions like the steps provided in this article, go ahead and bookmark our exclusive Windows 10 Errors Hub.
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Many Windows 10 users have encountered several issues with dllhost.exe. These problems may be serious because they may mean that the computer is infected with a virus.

Also, executable files, like this one, may harm your computer.

What is dllhost.exe?

The authentic dllhost.exe is a crucial software component of Microsoft Windows. Dllhost stands for Dynamic Link Library Host and it is a process for launching applications and operating services.

So, dllhost.exe is not a virus. However, malware programs, such as Trojans, other viruses and worms could be given the same file name. This way they can escape detection.

The real dllhost.exe is found on the C: WindowsSystem32 folder. It is a safe and essential process for the Windows operating system, called COM Surrogate. Any other file with a similar name in another folder is a malware. COM stands for Component Object Model.

It is launched automatically at startup and you can find it in the Windows Task Manager on the Process bar, Background processes section.

To find it, right-click on the COM Surrogate, then click on Open file location.

com surrogate task manager

Normally, it will go to the authentic dllhost.exe on the System32 folder.

dllhost system 32

So, cyber-criminals disguise malware under a fake copy of a COM surrogate as this is a crucial feature of the COM surrogate Trojan.

If you find such a case in the Task Manager, remove it from your computer. Still, manually removing such a file from your PC might not be enough.

Usually, such a fake COM Surrogate would appear with the same name in Task Manager, but it would use an excessive amount of RAM and CPU, slowing down your computer.

How did this infection get on my PC?

This virus can be distributed through many methods. Generally, websites that have been hacked or malicious websites can install a Trojan without your knowledge or permission.

Another way is the spam email that contains infected links or attachments. This is one of the main methods used by cybercriminals. They send spam emails with a fake header information saying that they represent a well-known company.

This can make you curious about a certain offer, for example, and you open the attached file or go to a specified website mentioned in the mail. With this, your computer becomes infected.

Also, the user might be tricked into installing what they consider to be useful software.

How do I remove dllhost.exe?

As we said above, the malicious software could be removed manually, if you found it in folders other than C: WindowsSystem32.

But this is not a very safe and efficient method, so we recommend some specialized programs in removing the infection on your computer.

Bitdefender Antivirus is arguably the best antivirus of 2019. One of its specialties is perfect for this case: it detects and removes self-replicating malicious software such as dllhost.exe 32 COM Surrogate virus.

MalwareBytes is a useful software for removing malicious programs for your computer. It will also help you prevent possible infections, offering efficient real-time protection.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is another useful program that will protect you against different types of malware, such as banking Trojans and ransomware, being perfect for eliminating or preventing the installing of a dllhost.exe 32 COM viruses.

FAQ: Learn more about dllhost.exe

  • What is process COM Surrogate?

The COM Surrogate is a different name for the Sacrificial process of a COM object that runs outside the process requesting it. For instance, Explorer uses the COM Surrogate when extracting thumbnails.

  • How many instances of dllhosts should be running?

Normally there should only be 2 dllhosts running in the background and they should close after a few seconds. But in Windows 10 these 2 dllhosts might often trigger additional instances when you go to system settings.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and it has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May 2019 and was revamped and updated in November 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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