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What’s services.exe (Services and Controller app)? Is it safe or a virus?

If you look at the task manager, or our SpyShelter software, you'll see different parts of the Windows system starting, stopping, starting, stopping, even when you are doing nothing at all. So, what kind of weird Microsoft Windows feature controls all this starting and stopping, that seems to be random? Well, it's services.exe who decide what should start and stop, and keep your PC secure.

Here in our cybersecurity labs in Austin, Texas, we found all our PCs have this important Windows component, and it's safe (as long as Microsoft has signed it). So, what all does this services.exe do for you?

services.exe starts and stops background processes like network management, user authentication, and many others that ensure the proper functioning of the operating system. It runs as an essential part of the Windows startup process, and because it controls so many key aspects of the system's operation, its failure or interruption can lead to system instability or a Windows crash (or even a blue screen). As a core component, services.exe operates in the background and users typically interact with it through the Service Manager interface.

(Researched by Jon @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about services.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes services.exe (Services and Controller app)?

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

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

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