What is Com Surrogate? Why is it Running on PC?

Did you suddenly come across “COM Surrogate” in your Task Manager and panic? Without relevant information, it is possible to think that you have malware or virus in your system. It can induce panic and anxiety. However, Com Surrogate is a part of the Windows processes, having the file name – dllhost.exe.

You can observe multiple Com surrogate processes in your system sometimes. These are seen in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and sometimes even the older versions but that is very rare. If you see the Com Surrogate process running in your Task Manager, do not worry much because we are going to explain what exactly it is!

Com Surrogate

What is COM Surrogate?

Component Object Model or COM is an interface introduced by Microsoft in 1993. It allows Windows developers to develop “COM objects” with ease. For this, they can use a wide array of programming languages like Java, PHP, C, Python, etc. Moreover, the COM objects are plugged into different applications to improve their productivity.

The Windows File Manager uses COM objects for the creation of thumbnails when users open a folder. Here, the COM object is responsible for the processing of videos, images, etc. for the creation of thumbnails. It ultimately allows the extension of Windows File Manager with other features.

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However, using COM objects can cause problems too. For instance, if a COM object crashes, it will also take down the host process. Previously, COM objects that generated thumbnails often crashed. This led to the crashing of the entire Windows Explorer too.

Microsoft developed the COM Surrogate process to deal with this issue. The COM Surrogate process hosts the COM object outside the actual process. It means when the COM object crash, the COM Surrogate will go down. But, the actual or original process will remain safe.

For example, Windows Explorer runs the COM Surrogate process when it needs to create thumbnails. In turn, the COM Surrogate process hosts the COM object which performs the tasks. Now, if the COM object crashes, the COM Surrogate process will crash. However, the Windows Explorer process will remain unaffected.

Is COM Surrogate a virus?

No, COM Surrogate is a part of the Windows processes and is not a virus. However, it can be used as a disguise to spread malware into your system. For instance, if you observe multiple dllhost.exe processes running in your system, taking up high CPU, that could indicate a virus.

There are different ways to make sure that the dllhost.exe process is not fake. One of them is to check out the file location. For that, you can follow the steps listed here –

  • Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to open Windows Task Manager. Select Task Manager.
  • Tap the C button till you locate COM Surrogate. Once you locate Com Surrogate, right-click on the process. This will give some options, please choose Open File Location.
  • Check out if the location is “C:/Windows\System32” or “C:/winnt/system32.” If this is the location, you can relax as this is not a virus. Let the process run on its own as it won’t affect your system in any way. 

Can you Disable the COM Surrogate?

Well, this is the most common question our readers ask that is it okay to disable the COM Surrogate? No, you cannot disable or stop COM Surrogate. It is an essential part of the Windows operating system. It is necessary for running COM objects and prevents crashing of the Windows Explorer. Moreover, different programs use COM Surrogate processes to complete some tasks.

For instance, Windows Explorer creates COM Surrogate processes regularly to create thumbnails when users open folders. However, some Windows users might want to disable the process. It is vital to understand that process will restart automatically.

Which COM Object does the COM Surrogate is Hosting?

Windows Task Manager is not helpful if you want to know which COM object the COM Surrogate process is hosting. For that, you need to use the Process Explorer tool of Microsoft. In Process Explorer, you just have to move the mouse over dllhost.exe. It will show the COM object that the COM Surrogate process is hosting.

What is com surrogate

How Much CPU does COM Surrogate Use?

The COM Surrogate uses a tiny amount of memory and CPU. It is mainly due to the fact that may be one or two dllhost.exe processes run. However, if you find numerous dllhost.exe processes, it can show more than 1-2% of CPU usage.

Problems Related to COM Surrogate Process

The actual dllhost.exe process is safe for Windows users. However, there are some problems that users can face related to COM Surrogate process. These are some of the problems which we are mentioning in this section to give you an idea:

1. COM Surrogate has Stopped Working

Sometimes, users might observe a box showing – “COM Surrogate has stopped working.” It mainly occurs when you are browsing pictures or videos on your computer. There are various reasons that can lead to this error message. These include disk problems, out-of-date drivers, etc.

If you came across this problem, better to click on Close the Program and this might solve your problem.

Com surrogate has stopped working

2. COM Surrogate Asks password

Various users have reported that the Windows Security COM Surrogate asks for the email password. It mainly occurs after you manually turn off the process. Here, the first thing that you need to do is opt for a clean boot. Check out if you can see the prompt there.

If you observe the same in Safe Mode, that could indicate wrong bit-wise software installation, out-of-date version, etc. But, if you do not get the prompt, then it means that the problem is due to a third-party program.

com surrogate ask password

3. High CPU usage

One of the most common problems Windows users often face is high CPU due to COM Surrogate processes. If you are not careful, it could result in the slowing down of the system.

If you witness an increase in RAM usage, then you need to take immediate action. Often, this is an issue of malware or virus disguising as a dllhost.exe process. That is why you must check out the file location. It will aid you in understanding if the process is legitimate or not.

You can find the location of the process from Windows Task Manager. Still, if you are suspicious, you must opt for an antivirus scan immediately.


The article explains what COM Surrogate is and concerns related to it. However, if you suspect a virus is using it as a disguise, you need to run an antivirus scan immediately. With the antivirus program, you can get rid of any malware attack on your system. If you are still suspicious, you can seek consultation from a professional.

I hope this article will help you to understand what is COM Surrogate and why you don’t have to worry after seeing in your task manager. Most of the time, it is safe to run on your system other than run the antivirus program. If you still have any doubts, you can ask us in the comments section below.

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