Conhost.exe Information

Martin Brinkmann
May 7, 2010
Updated • May 21, 2018

The following guide provides you with information on the Windows process conhost.exe which you may notice on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems.

I just noticed the process conhost.exe for the first time in Windows 7's task manager. Not sure if it was never there before, or if I did not have the Windows Task Manager open at the time it was running on the operating system.

The properties of the conhost.exe process describe it as the Console Window Host which suggests that it is linked to console windows. The process was created by Microsoft Corporation, is signed by Microsoft, and runs under the csrss.exe process.

Please note that you may see one conhost process, or multiple processes in the Windows Task Manager or other process managing tools.

Verify that conhost.exe is legitimate

First thing you may want to do is verify that the conhost.exe process is legitimate, and not some kind of virus.

Fire up the Windows Task Manager using Ctrl-Shift-Esc, and switch to Processes on older versions of Windows, or to Details in newer versions of Windows. If this is the first time opening the Task Manager on Windows 10, select "more details" to display the full Task Manager on the screen.

conhost windows 10

Conhost.exe does not run all the time though, and you may not see it listed by default. I explain what the process is later on in the guide, but you can invoke it by launching a new command prompt window for instance.

But is it safe? If conhost.exe is located in c:\windows\system32 then yes, it is safe.Right-click on the process in the Task Manager, and select open file location from the context menu. This should take you directly to the system32 directory of the Windows installation.

If the Task Manager takes you elsewhere, you may have spotted a virus that disguises itself as conhost.exe.

It never fails to check the file for malicious code on the other hand. You can do that for instance on the Virustotal website. Just upload the file to the online service, and wait for the scan results. Again, if it is in system32 it should be safe, if it is not, it is probably not.

The conhost process disappears once the host process that launched it is closed in Windows. If that is the case, it is fair to assume that it is not a virus that is responsible for the launching of the process.

Deeper analysis of conhost.exe

conhost information

I suggest you use a program like the free Process Explorer to dig deeper. To get started, launch the application with elevated rights (by right-clicking on its executable file and selecting the "run as administrator" option).

Process Explorer is like an advanced version of the Windows Task Manager. It lists a wealth of information that the Task Manager does not list.

Click on the search icon in the main toolbar, and enter conhost to get started. Process Explorer checks all processes, and returns any process, dll, thread or file that is related to conhost.exe.

Among the information that is displayed is the process IDs and path information when files are loaded. This is useful information, as you can quickly check whether conhost.exe is run from the system32 directory, or another location.

You may click on any to jump directly to the entry in the Process Explorer window. I suggest you right-click on the conhost.exe file there and select properties to start the deeper analysis of the process.

conhost.exe process

Process Explorer may also be used to submit the process directly to Virustotal for checking. You may save yourself a step if you use Process Explorer.

The properties page for conhost.exe highlights several important information. First, the processes path on the local system, and the parent process. On the screenshot above, c:\windows\system32\conhost.exe is the location of the file, and its parent process is cmd.exe. You may see different processes there depending on the programs that you run. It is usually a good idea to verify those as well, especially if they load conhost.exe from a different location than system32.

You may also want to check the TCP/IP tab, just to make sure that nothing fancy is going on there. Conhost.exe should not connect to the network or Internet, and if you see a blank table there, that is another indicator that everything is alright.

My situation

After some testing I discovered that conhost.exe always appeared as a process when I played a video in SMPlayer. The process is killed immediately if the video player window is closed.

Conhost.exe will also appear as a process in the Task Manager if a command line prompt is opened in Windows 7. The process is always started if a command line window (hidden or visible) is launched in Windows 7.

The reason for this is simple:  Microsoft is using the conhost.exe process as a proxy between the crss process which was responsible for the command line in Windows XP & Windows Vista and the cmd.exe program itself. It ensures that the command line window is fully compatible with the theme of the operating system.

Another feature that it introduces is the ability to drag and drop files from Windows Explorer directly to the command line prompt which XP supported but Vista did not.

So, conhost.exe ensures that the console in Windows uses the operating system's theme, and that drag and drop is supported as well.

To sum it up: If conhost.exe is located in the Windows/system32 folder then everything is likely in order.  You can right-click on the program in Windows Explorer and select properties to display additional information about it.

Conhost.exe Process Information
Article Name
Conhost.exe Process Information
An analysis of the conhost.exe process which you may see in the Task Manager or process software running on Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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