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What is COM Surrogate ( Dllhost.exe ) & fixes for COM surrogate errors

COM surrogate which is also known as dllhost.exe is one of the processes running in the background of every PC. We will get into details of What is COM Surrogate & what the function it does, how to fix common issues with COM surrogate etc.

What is COM Surrogate?

Component Object Model ( COM ) is an object-oriented system for creating binary software which is platform-independent. Actually, the problem arises in explorer, to load the thumbnails of doc’s ( Media files or videos or images ) in folders earlier explorer used thumbnail extractor but in few cases, the extractor failed & thus crashing explorer.

So they have used this COM process to use COM objects as an intermediate or buffer process for extracting thumbnails & in any case if the process fails the respective COM process will fail/crash but not an entire explorer. These files are stored as a .dll extension so that’s the reason this COM surrogate is also known as dllhost.exe

Usually, you won’t come across COM surrogate unless you encounter a crash like ” COM Surrogate has stopped working ” etc or else you might find COM surrogate running in task manager. Check the below image of task manager, you can find COM surrogate running in the background but it doesn’t utilize CPU. If you can’t find here then go to details tab & search for dllhost.exe

COM surrogate in Windows Task Manager

You shouldn’t disable COM surrogate process as it will destroy the shield & file explorer. Disabling the process is simply allowing your system to crash if any one of the COM processes fails. By this time, I think you got a few snippets of what is COM surrogate & How it works. Needless to say, it’s not a virus but make sure to keep an eye on it. If you are facing a problem with internet then check out for  Fix no internet access problem in Window 10 guide to fix it.

The trojan malware ( Trojan.Poweliks ) uses dllhost.exe *32 files to run its spyware, so if you find a considerable amount of CPU usage by dllhost.exe *32 files then it’s better to keep an eye & find details about it.

Fix Problems/Errors with COM Surrogate

There are quite a few errors associated with COM surrogate process & also malware which is spread under COM process. So let us check few errors & share the quick fix for them.

dllhost.exe *32 COM Surrogate malware

As discussed earlier dllhost.exe *32 COM surrogate is a trojan malware which is controlled by Trojan.Poweliks malware, it uses these files to host its process. Basically, dllhost.exe *32 is a common process which is used to host one or more operating system services & it’s located in c:\windows\system32  location.

This malware can be spread through E-mail with infected attachments or by visiting malicious websites or by using exploit kits which uses vulnerabilities of your system or phishing emails.

But if the CPU usage of this process is high then you need to check whether it’s malware or not.

  • Go to Task Manager ( You can use the search bar in taskbar or press CTRL + ALT + DEL & then choose Task Manager from it )
  • Right-click on the running .dllhost.exe *32 files which have high CPU usage & click Open file location.
  • It usually located in System 32 in C drive but if it’s in a different location it might be malware.
  • Submit the file to virustotal website ( )& scan through multiple antiviruses.

You can also check this detailed guide by malwaretips

COM Surrogate has stopped working

This is a common error & most of the users faced this issue on windows 10 creators update last year. Also if you upgrade from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro you might encounter this error. So here’s a fix for this

  • Go to Control Panel –> System & Security –> System
  • In System left side menu, click on Advanced System Settings & go to Advanced Tab.
  • Click on Settings under Performance section.
  • Go to Data Execution Protection tab
  • Select ” Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select ” option & Click Add
  • Go to the driver on which your OS is installed & browse to Windows\System32\dllhost.exe file
  • Click Open, click OK on the warning message.
  • Click Apply/OK.

If the above fix doesn’t work then try to perform a Clean boot.

High CPU Usage by COM Surrogate

This usually happens when the COM process falls in a loop while regenerating thumbnail of the media files or might be due to malware. We have already discussed how to fix malware, so will go to the other one.

For this, you need to download Process Explorer from official Microsoft site, follow this link –> Process Explorer Microsoft

  • Download & install Process Explorer & then open it.
  • Go to View–> Select Show lower pane ( or Press Ctrl + L )
  • Click on dllhost.exe & you will get the related information

In that check the file type section & don’t touch System32 files, check for other files.

  • If you found any other file then right click on that –> Properties –> Copy the name of the file.
  • Paste it into my computer on location bar or search for the file & delete it.

This will solve the issue or else just boot into safe mode or restart after deleting the file.

Alternatively, you can shut down COM surrogate process & then delete the file.


Hope we have provided a solution for your issues, if you are facing with other COM surrogate errors just comment here, we will find a solution for that.

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