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What’s dllhost.exe (COM Surrogate)? Is it safe or a virus?

If your Windows PC uses DLLs (dynamic linked libraries), and yours most certainly does, then (COM Surrogate) dllhost.exe is a safe process to find running in your Windows Task Manager. In fact, I just checked my own PC as I'm writing this and dllhost.exe is running right now, two times!

I've also checked the different PCs here in our SpyShelter cybersecurity lab in Austin, Texas, and I see this dllhost.exe process running on all of them. So, what does the COM Surrogate do exactly?

dllhost.exe serves as a host for DLL (Dynamic Link Library) files. These files contain code and data that can be used by multiple programs at the same time.

The dllhost.exe process allows these shared DLLs to be executed and accessed by applications running on the Windows. This helps to improve system efficiency and reduce memory usage by allowing multiple programs to use the same resources. However, it's important to note that some malware may attempt to disguise themselves as dllhost.exe, so it's important to verify the legitimacy of the .exe.

You can verify if dllhost.exe is safe by checking to see if it's signed with the Windows Task Manager, or use our free SpyShelter Antispyware app!

(Researched by Jon @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about dllhost.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes dllhost.exe (COM Surrogate)?

We’ve found Microsoft Windows should be the publisher of dllhost.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 dllhost.exe safe or a virus?

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

  1. Scan the executable with Microsoft's built-in tech
  2. Find dllhost.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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