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What’s conhost.exe (Console Window Host)? Is it safe or a virus?

There's nothing worse than being conned... and that's why I think some PC fans may worry that "conhost.exe" aka "Console Window Host" could be a nefarious Windows process. However, if conhost.exe is signed by Microsoft then it should be a completely safe and common process to see running in your Task Manager.

Conhost.exe is responsible for handling console windows in the Windows OS. It's required for the official Windows Command Prompt or any other command-line interface applications. The conhost.exe process provides an interface for these applications to interact with the user and manages the input and output of the console window.

Therefore, conhost.exe shouldn't be conning anyone, and it should be safe to see running on your PC.

(Researched by Jon @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about conhost.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes conhost.exe (Console Window Host)?

We’ve found Microsoft Windows should be the publisher of conhost.exe.

How do we know? Our SpyShelter cybersecurity labs focuses on monitoring different types of Windows PC executables and their behaviors for our popular SpyShelter Antispyware software. Learn more about us, and how our cybersecurity team studies Windows PC executables/processes.

What does it mean if someone is the publisher of a PC .exe (executable or process)?

The publisher of an executable is the entity responsible for its distribution and authenticity. Most processes/executables on your PC should be signed. The signature on the executable should have been verified through a third party whose job it is to make sure the entity is who it says it is. Find an unsigned executable? You should consider scanning any completely unsigned .exe on your PC.

Is conhost.exe safe or a virus?

Below are 4 simple steps you can take to see if the conhost.exe process is safe or malware.

  1. Scan the executable with Microsoft's built-in tech
  2. Find conhost.exe's publisher
  3. Search the executable's hash with VirusTotal
  4. Monitor the executable's behavior
Last updated: February 1, 2024

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Why should you trust us?

Our team at SpyShelter has been studying Windows PC executables for over 15 years, to help fight against spyware, malware, and other threats. SpyShelter has been featured in publications like The Register, PC Magazine, and many others. Now we’re working to share free, actionable, and easy to understand information about Windows executables (processes) with the world, to help as many people as possible keep their devices safe. Learn more about us on our "About SpyShelter” page.

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