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Smss.exe Windows Process: What is it and Is It Safe?

Smss.exe is a Windows process. It is part of the local System and plays a role in starting your computer. It is safe to have it running.

Smss.exe is a legitimate window executable file located in the C:\Program Files\Common Files directory. The smss.exe file was created to help Windows operating systems manage their memory resources and is used to store non-pageable memory for each Windows service.

Smss exe Windows Process

It's also handled by services and the DLLHOST process, which hosts Dynamic Link Libraries when an executable process calls a DLL through its entry point but doesn't need the DLL code to remain loaded. Read on from this post for more information.

What is smss.exe?

The smss.exe process is a part of the Microsoft Windows operating system and should not be deleted or stopped. smss.exe stands for Session Manager Subsystem. This small program allows other processes to run in the background while Windows works.

The main task of this process is to create a new session when you log into your computer, which means that it keeps track of what programs are running and how much memory each one takes up.

Is smss.exe a Virus or Malware?

No, it is not a virus or malware. The file smss.exe belongs to Microsoft® Windows® Operating System, and it is registered as a normal process with the Windows Task Manager. This file is not considered malicious by most antivirus programs because it aims to start up the System and then terminate itself after that task has been completed.

smss exe a Virus or Malware

The smss.exe process often receives a lot of attention from users because it is also used for debugging when troubleshooting an issue with their PC. This can confuse users who do not understand what this process does on their PC and why it needs to be running all the time.

How to Determine If smss.exe is Genuine or a Virus

 1. Check File Location of smss.exe

The location of smss.exe is a good indicator of whether or not it's genuine. A virus will often be installed in the C:\Windows\System32 folder or the C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder. The file should also be located in one of these folders if you copied the file from another computer.

By default, it is located in the Windows directory. You can check the path by;

Step 1: Going to Start

Step 2: Tap Control Panel

Tap Control Panel for execute smss exe

Step 3: Select System and Security

Select System and Security for smss exe

Step 4: Click System

Click system for smss exe

If you see a different location, you have a virus on your computer.

2. Check the Digital Signature of smss.exe

Developers use a digital signature to provide proof of origin for their applications and protect them from being tampered with by third parties.

To check the digital signature of smss.exe:

Step 1: Right-click on the file and select Properties from the context menu

Select Properties from the context menu

Step 2: Click on the Digital Signatures tab

Click on the Digital Signatures tab

If there is no authenticity in the window, you most likely have received a virus or malware.

Can I Disable or Remove smss.exe From My PC?

You can disable or remove smss.exe to prevent it from running on your computer. However, you should be aware that disabling this process can cause issues with the Windows operating system and other applications. If you are having problems with the smss.exe process, consider using our free PC health tool to identify any potentially unwanted software that may be causing these issues.

You may also want to disable the smss.exe process if you are experiencing slowdowns or other performance issues with your device. This is especially true if you have been experiencing these issues since installing a new program or device drivers.

Smss.exe is Using High CPU Usage.

Smss exe is Using High CPU Usage

If you have a high CPU usage, the computer uses more energy than it needs. This can be a virus or malware that takes up a lot of resources.

To fix this issue, you need to find out what is causing this problem. You will then be able to stop the process from running and fix the problem permanently.

Common Symptoms Associated with smss.exe Virus Infection

The program can be installed in the background, and you might not even notice it. However, some common signs indicate a smss.exe virus condition on your computer.

Below are some of them:

Step 1: There are probably processes running in task managers that consume 50% or more of the computer's processor.

Processes running in task managers that consume 50%

Step 2: The task manager will show a file like Smss.exe.

Task manager will show a file with a name like Smss exe

Step 3: Video clips stutter, and windows minimize and maximize slowly.

Windows minimize and maximize slowly

Step 4: The launch of apps is slower.

The launch of apps is slower

Step 5: Programs become less competitive as a result.

Step 6: There is a constant CPU usage of over 50% in Task Manager.

Constant CPU usage of over 50% in Task Manager

Step 7: The computer system generally runs slowly when used.

The computer system generally runs slowly

Fix and Replace smss.exe on Your PC

If your computer is infected with a virus, here is what you can do to help fix it.

Windows Reinstallation

To do this, restart your PC and press the F8 key a few times until you get a menu where you can choose to boot into Safe Mode or Normal Mode.

Advance boot into Safe Mode or Normal Mode

Step 1: Choose the latter, then click on the Next button to continue.

Step 2: Click on Repair your computer option on the next screen and then click on Troubleshoot option from the next screen.

Troubleshoot option from the next screen

Step 3: On the Troubleshooting screen, click on the System Restore option to begin with. Click the Next button to continue.

Click the Next button to continue

Step 4: Now select a restore point from the list of available options and click the Next button again to continue.

Next button again to continue

Step 5: Wait until the System restore process completes, and then reboot your computer normally.

Until the System restore process completes

Using the Check Disk Utility

The first thing you should do is check for errors on your hard drive using the check disk utility. To do so:

Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.

Command for Run

Step 2: Type cmd and press Enter to open a command prompt window. Type chkdsk /f /r and hit Enter.

Press Enter to open a command prompt window

Step 3: The utility will scan your computer's drives and attempt to fix any found errors automatically.

Attempt to fix any found errors automatically

Step 4: A log file will also be created in the root of the C drive with details of any issues found (this file can be viewed using Notepad).

Using System File Checker

If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can use the System File Checker tool to scan and repair any corrupted system files. To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.

Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box

Step 2: Type cmd in the Open box and press Enter to open a command prompt window with administrative rights.

Type cmd in the Open box

Step 3: In the command prompt window, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

Type sfc -scannow and then press Enter

Step 4: The SFC scans all protected system files and replaces corrupted or missing files with cached versions (if available).

Scan the the System Using an Antivirus Program, e.g., Windows Defender

The first thing to do is scan your system for viruses and other security problems.

To do this,

Step 1: Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender (or Security & Maintenance if you're using Windows 10)

Windows Defender

Step 2: Click the “Virus & threat protection” link on the left-hand side of the window.

Virus & threat protection

Step 3: Click “Check for updates” and click “Scan now” on the next page.

Check for updates and click Scan now on the next page


Q. What is the smss.exe Process?

The smss.exe process is a component of the Microsoft® Windows® Operating System. The file size of this process varies depending on your system configuration but will be around 50KB. This process is an executable program that runs in the background and allows your computer to start correctly.

Q. Is smss.exe a Virus?

No, smss.exe is not a virus or malware. It is a system process that belongs to the Microsoft Windows Operating System and is used by the System to start applications and services at boot time.

Q. What are the Functions of smss.exe?

The program smss.exe is responsible for running the Session Manager Subsystem (also known as Windows Session Manager). This subsystem is responsible for managing all the user sessions and processes which run on a Windows system. The smss.exe file is located in the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder by default.

Bottom Line

According to Microsoft says that Smss.exe is a legitimate Windows file and not a virus or malware. However, if you see this file appear on your computer without explanation, you should be wary.