What is COM Surrogate Process & How to Delete It?

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Users who play around with their systems are usually intrigued by all details related to it. If you belong to this category, then you must have come across running COM surrogate on the task manager of your system. This process has a name called ‘dllhost.exe.’ All versions of Windows, including Windows 7, 8, 10, or other older versions pay host to the COM surrogate process.

So, what is COM surrogate process? This is something that you might be thinking about right now. Another thing that you need to consider is how to repair it if you are facing some problems associated with it. In this article, we will discuss these things in detail. So, let’s begin without further ado.

What is COM Surrogate?

When you look at the name ‘COM Surrogate,’ it is not clear what we are looking at. It does not feature a typical icon and remains there without giving much information on what actually it does. Every now and then, there is various COM Surrogate process working all at once. Usually, when users open up the task manager, they will usually see two of these processes running.

On right-clicking on one of these COM surrogate processes and tap on ‘Go to Details,’ you will see that the actual name of this process is dllhost.exe. This process does not run under accounts like Network Service, Local Service, or System but your username.

Most of the time, the COM surrogate process is not a kind of virus. It is a legitimate process of Windows 10, which keeps running in the background. It is named as dllhost because it hosts lots of DLL files. Essentially, Microsoft produced a develop-interface for creating program extensions that came to be known as COM Objects. Windows 10 employs this interface for various programs. For instance, Windows Explorer features a COM Object, which enables it to produce thumbnails for videos and photos in a file folder.

The main problem related to this COM object is that they often crash and bring down the Explorer process along with it. This means that your entire system used to crash if COM objects fail due to any reason. To resolve this problem, Microsoft came out with COM surrogate processes.

The COM surrogate process runs the COM object in distinct processes as compared to the one that actually requests it. For instance, if we take the example of Explorer, then the COM object won’t run in the process named explorer.exe. However, it will run in the newly produced COM surrogate process.

In that case, if the COM object crashes for any reason, then it will remove the COM surrogate process, where Explorer continues to run. It will become clearer to you if you install Process Explorer. So, if you move your cursor over the entry dllhost.exe, then you come to see the COM category called Microsoft Thumbnail Cache. It’s the extension that is used to produce the Explorer thumbnails. Now, you do not have to think about ‘what is COM surrogate.’

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Everything About COM Surrogate

The abbreviation COM refers to the Component Object Model. This interface from Microsoft was developed in the early 90s with the help of several programming languages. The COM objects and interfaces were complemented to other applications for extending them with no mincing words. For instance, the well-known Windows file manager employs COM objects for creating the image thumbnails in folders. Thus, COM objects handle the processing of images, files, and videos while creating the thumbnails subsequently.

Using these thumbnails, Explorer extends support to new codes for videos. Nonetheless, it results in lots of hassles when COM objects crash. To overcome these hassles, Microsoft invented the COM surrogate process. Thus, on the crashing of the COM object, it affects the COM surrogate process in place of the COM object. To understand what is COM surrogate, let’s take an example. Windows Explorer starts a COM surrogate process, and it generates the thumbnails of images. Here, the surrogate process hosts the COM object that used to handle these tasks earlier. In case, if there happens some crash, then the COM surrogate crashes while the actual file keeps on running as normal.

Besides, click here to find out what is Trustedinstaller.exe and what is CTF loader.

How do users know which COM object hosts which COM surrogate?

After getting an answer to what is COM surrogate, you might be looking for some other answers if you like to know which COM object hosts which COM surrogate, then the standard Task Manager of your Windows does not offer you this information. For having this information, you need to install the tool Microsoft’s Process Explorer. With the help of this tool, users enjoy the access to watch which DLL file or COM Object the COM surrogate hosts.

Can users disable the COM surrogate process?

Most of the users ask this question after their primary one, which was ‘what is COM surrogate process.’ On facing problems related to the COM surrogate process, users definitely want this process to disable. Unfortunately, one cannot disable this progress as it is a vital component required by your system for optimal functioning. Meanwhile, this COM surrogate process even assists in creating thumbnails while opening folders. Plus, other programs also use this surrogate process for creating their COM processes. Also, keep this thing in mind that every dllhost.exe file on the system was begun by other programs for executing a process.

Can the COM surrogate process a virus?

Most of the users come across problems related to the COM surrogate process. If you are assuming that it is a virus, then think once again. This COM surrogate process is not a virus but an integral part of the Windows operation. Sometimes, this process is infected by malware such as Trojan. Poweliks for unleashing mayhem on the system. If these dllhost.exe files start to use a massive amount of the CPU, then it becomes clear that the COM surrogate has been infected by some malicious program or malware.

In the past, there have been various instances where viruses and trojans have hidden in the operating system of Windows by masquerading themselves as the COM surrogate process and other processes associated with Windows.

To know this, you have first to launch Task Manager and right-tap on the process. After that, select the tab ‘Open file location,’ where you can locate the source position for the surrogate process. When the COM surrogate opens up a file named ‘dllhost‘ under the folder ‘C:\Windows\System32‘, then it surely does not comprise a virus. If you lead to somewhere else, then you need to run a scan for viruses immediately.

Normally, the COM surrogate process employs very little CPU space and memory. There are usually one or two instances when it runs. In case, the surrogate process is using up over 1-2 percent of the CPU, or there are countless dllhosts.exe processes, then it is better to perform a virus scan offline. This scan will effectively detect tricky and hidden viruses.

How to resolve problems related to COM surrogate?

Sometimes, you come across various issues associated with COM surrogate. If you are presently facing problems related to COM surrogate like it is not working on the system when you view videos or photos. If you follow some instructions that we have listed here, then you will surely resolve the problem effectively. So, here are three methods that you can use to fix the problems regarding the COM surrogate process.

Method 1: Update Codec

On viewing videos or pictures, if you suddenly come across a pop-up saying ‘COM surrogate has stopped working,’ then you have to update codec. It is the smartest way to resolve this error. This fix helps various people in fixing the COM surrogate problems. Also, if there are applications like Nero or DivX installed on the system, then you should consider updating these tools to their recent versions.

Method 2: Disable Thumbnails

If you are still facing issues related to the COM surrogate process, then try out this second method after the first one fails. Here, you need to disable previews of thumbnails. Some users easily resolve the problem hassle-free using this simple method. However, it is not a permanent solution to your problem. Still, it is a great option that users can leverage.

Method 3: Re-register DLLs

Try out this third method if the methods mentioned above do not work for you. On re-registering a lot of DLLs, you can surely resolve the problems like COM surrogate issues. The amazing part is that it is pretty simple to perform this task. For this, you have to begin by right-tapping on the Windows tab and continue with selecting the command prompt. Under the window command prompt, you need to enter the command given below and press enter after you are done. The command is written as follows:

  • regsvr32 vbcript.dll
  • regsvr32 jscript.dll

So, this method is well-known and works perfectly well in resolving errors related to the COM surrogate process.

Conclusion on What Is COM Surrogate:

Now, you do not have to wonder, ‘What is COM surrogate?‘ This is so as we have defined the meaning of this tricky term. In this article, we have even mentioned other things associated with the RCOM surrogate process. When the COM surrogate process happens to cause errors, most users think of it as a virus. Certainly, it is not a virus but an important component of the Windows system. So, next time you come across this error, be sure that you are not dealing with some malware. Also, we have listed some methods that you can use for fixing errors associate with the COM surrogate process. Hopefully, this article will be helpful for people who were not aware of ‘What is COM surrogate?‘ Now, do not think much about processes that run in the background!


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