Since computers have come into existence, the viruses have come with it too. A virus is a malicious program that is written in a code language to harm your computer system. The virus once executed, attacks directly on to all files of your system thus making it corrupt. Some viruses are written in such a way that they force the system to behave in a certain way or to do certain things.
Computer systems have been given an extra layer of security in terms of firewalls these days to protect them from a different virus but the Virus attacks have been only increasing with time. The vulnerable systems are attacked by the virus and most of the time, user data is stolen or the privacy of the system is compromised. VIRUS is often abbreviated as “Vital Information Resources Under Siege” which clearly indicates that these malicious programs are written to steal user data and to take access to other vital information.
How can a Virus spread
Now the question is, how do these viruses travel from one system to another. Since the virus is executable files, they are sent by the person who writes them with the intention of stealing data. The virus can be sent by email. The malicious code is written and made an executable file and sent to many users via email. Even though mail companies have a layer of security which filters such spam emails from the regular ones, if somebody accidentally opens it, the code is executed and the system gets affected with the virus.
Ads are also one of the major means by which the virus attacks the vulnerable system these days. These are called Adware and are written in the form of attractive ads with the websites which have poor security. Once the user clicks on these ads, the system is attacked with an Adware which becomes very difficult to remove.
What is COM Surrogate (dllhost.exe)
COM is a usual term in the computer languages which stands for Component Object Model. The COM interface was introduced by Microsoft way back in the year 1993 and is an integral part of the Windows operating system. COM allows different developers to create COM objects using different programming languages. The COM objects once created plug into other applications and extend them.
Since the COM Surrogate is an integral part of the Windows Operating System, the Windows file manager uses COM objects to create thumbnail images of other files when it opens a folder. Other than many other functions, the COM process handles the processing of images and videos to generate the thumbnails which you usually see on your computer screens. This process allows File Explorer to get the support for the new codecs which is essential.
Why is the COM Surrogate process created
Sometimes the image and video processing from the COM Surrogate process leads to some problems. If the COM process crashes due to some reason, it will take down its host as well with it which is quite worrying. It was a very common problem earlier as these thumbnail-generating COM objects used to crash which used to take down the entire Windows Explorer process with them.
In order to get rid of this frequent cashing problem, Microsoft developed the COM Surrogate process that runs a COM object that runs outside the original process that requested it. This was a wonderful idea by Microsoft which minimized the crashing to an extent and solved the problem. Now, if the COM object crashes, the original host process won’t crash as it will only take down the COM Surrogate process. This is amazing as even if the COM object crashes, only the COM Surrogate process crashes and the File Explorer process keeps on running without any problems.
Why is dllhost.exe running on my PC?
If you ever open your task manager on Windows PC, there is a good chance that you will see ‘dllhost.exe’ running on your PC. You will not see the name of the file with the name dllhost.exe but with the name COM surrogate in your task manager under the process that is currently running in your PC as COM surrogate is the process and dllhost.exe is the file name. There are chances that you might even see more than one COM surrogate process which is very common as well. The COM surrogate process is usually seen in Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8 but can also be seen in the earlier version of Windows sometimes.
How to identify, which COM object, a COM Surrogate is hosting
Well, this is an important question and you must be very well aware which COM Object, a COM surrogate is hosting so that there is no problem in the file explorer and even if you kill the task by mistake, you can get to know which all process and files will be getting affected.
If you open a standard Windows Task manager, it does not give you any information about the hosting processes but only provides you with the name of the process which makes the task a bit tougher. In a common and standard Task manager which is default to windows operating system, you can never identify which COM Object or DLL file its hosting.
Since the default Windows Task manager does not provide any information about the above problem, Windows itself has come up with the solution and has made life easy. There is a tool from Microsoft called Process Explorer Tool which you can download and install from the official website of Microsoft free of cost. After you have finished the downloading and installation of the Process Explorer tool, just keep your mouse over the dllhost .exe process in the explorer window and you can very well see which COM Object or DLL file it is hosting.
Is dllhost.exe, COM Surrogate, a virus?
Now, since you have understood what dllhost.exe is and what is COM Surrogate process, we must come to the main topic of the article which raises a question of whether dllhost.exe is a virus or not. Well, the answer to this question is both YES and NO.
If you talk about an only dllhost.exe file, it is definitely not a virus and a regular and important file of Windows Explorer file system which you will surely find in every Windows operated machine whether it is a Laptop or a Desktop. Dllhost.exe is not a virus but it can be used by malware to attack the windows file system to corrupt the files and to make the system behave in an unexpected way. There is a file named Trojan. Poweliks is a malware and it uses the dllhost.exe file to enter into the system and do all the malicious works it is designed to do.
How to know if dllhost.exe is used by a Malware or a Virus
Now, this is the question everybody asks and you must know the answer to this. As we know that the dllhost.exe file and the COM Surrogate process is very common in the file system of windows and whenever you open the Task Manager, you will be able to see the file running in the background so how to know if the file is being used by the virus.
Well, it is quite simple to figure out. If you see multiple dllhost.exe files running in the Task Manager you might get a hint that it is used by a malware or a virus. A large number of dllhost.exe files running in the background is an indication that your system might be compromised and you must take an action immediately by starting your anti-virus. One of the other important ways of confirming this is the CPU Usage. If you see the multiple dllhost files in the system is running and consuming high CPU usage, you must be assured that your file is being abused by the malware. If you see your COM Surrogate process being compromised, immediately activate your anti-virus and take precautionary measures.
Can you remove dllhost.exe?
Well, if you think that if you see your dllhost.exe file being compromised, you can remove the file itself, then the answer is NO. Absolutely NOT. As we have discussed above that dllhost.exe is an integral part of the windows file system, removing this file will lead you windows to crash, Even if your windows is not crashed, it will not behave in an expected way. Not only remove, but you also cannot even disable the file as you will face the same consequences as you will face after its removal.
The only thing you can do is to repair the whole windows file system that will automatically repair the dllhost.exe file as well.
We have discussed everything about the dllhost.exe file and the COM Surrogate process and got to know that it is not a virus cannot be removed. It can be used by a virus and you need to take measures for it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below in the comment box and we will be more than happy to help you.