What Is COM Surrogate (dllhost.exe) and Why Is It Running on My PC?:
Looking through the list of processes on a Windows computer Task Manager There is a recipe for paranoia. There are a lot of weird programs running and there is usually no way for you to know what is good or bad for your PC. The COM surrogate dllhost.exe is one such process, but it’s a lot more mundane than you might think.
What is a COM Surrogate (dllhost.exe)?
COM is short for Component Object Model. This is something that Microsoft introduced in the early 90s to make it easier for programmers to extend the functionality of existing software. In other words, it’s somewhat like a plugin system that lets you add new functions to existing programs such as Windows Explorer.
This is great for dynamically improving what a program can do, but has a downside. If a COM module is badly coded or crashes for some reason, it also crashes the program it plugs into. This is because both the COM and the main program are running as a process.
That’s where COM surrogates come in. This approach lets COM run in its own separate process, as if it were its own program. The main program and COM surrogate processes talk to each other as needed. But if the COM surrogate crashes for whatever reason, it does nothing but cause its own process to crash. This makes for a more stable system overall.
Is COM Surrogate (dllhost.exe) secure?
Whether dllhost.exe is secure is a tricky question to answer, as it will depend on the specific COM running. Typically they host benign processes that do useful things, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that a badly coded COM or malware piggybacking on a COM surrogate framework could cause harm or execute malicious code .
Finding the Location of the COM Surrogate
There is only one valid location for the Dllhost.exe file, and that is inside the System32 folder within the Windows folder. default path is windows > System32 on the system drive. The system drive is usually the C drive. If you find this file elsewhere, it is probably a virus. So be sure to scan it!
Checking Validity of COM Surrogate
As mentioned above, the COM surrogate you see in Task Manager isn’t a specific application, it’s just a shell for another process. Since we can’t easily gain insight into what’s actually going on within a specific COM surrogate process, the only real way to investigate suspicious behavior is to use an antivirus program.
Of course, you should run your antivirus program At regular intervals anyway, but if you see a COM surrogate that is using a lot of resources or causing system instability, that may be an explanation.
Then again, the COM surrogate process in question may just be buggy, rather than malicious. If you’ve saved all your documents, you can try to forcibly terminate a given COM surrogate process to find out what it’s doing. Whatever crashes or hangs after killing the process is probably a program related. Once you have identified the most likely culprit, you will want to reboot your computer.
Fixing COM Surrogate Errors
COM surrogate errors do happen from time to time and are probably the most common reason people search for a process name in the first place. The error “COM Surrogate has stopped working” may seem cryptic at first. Now that you know what a COM surrogate does, it’s clear that the process is actually doing its job.
COM surrogate program extensions to prevent the main process they extend from crashing, so the cause of this error can be traced back to whatever COM module was running within the surrogate.
There is no easy way to know which COM it was, because the surrogate itself masks the specific COM inside it. There are several possible suspects:
- Third-party video codecs are out of date. If you have any, delete them or update them.
- Your antivirus program may be interfering with the COM Surrogate. Disable it temporarily. If this issue appears, switch to a different antivirus or try updating to your latest version, if applicable.
- Check your disk for errors using a utility like chkdsk.
- Check system files for corruption system file checker.
- Rollback the most recent driver update or update the display and printer drivers specifically. Try Both Standard Manufacturers GPU Driver and the OEM version, if that applies to your computer.
If you want to know how to diagnose which COM is running within a surrogate, there is a more technical solution.
Checking Inside a COM Surrogate Process with Process Explorer
Microsoft has an alternative utility known as Process Explorer. It is useful for a variety of things. For example, if you’re told you can’t delete a folder because a program has it open, you can use Process Explorer to see which program is there and close it without restarting the whole computer. can force.
Just download and run Process Explorer and you will see a window like this:
Remember that the COM surrogate is actually called dllhost.exe. So look for that and hover the mouse pointer over the entry. In the small popup, you will see which DLL file is being hosted. Usually this gives you enough information to know which program is associated with it. If it’s not obvious from the DLL name, you can google it for a more definitive answer.
Come On Over For A Party
In short, you now know what COMs are, what a COM surrogate does, how to fix the most common issues and how to figure out which COM you’re dealing with. Hope that cleared up your COM related problems.