What is MRT.exe and Is It Safe?

Every now and then, all of us stumble upon new processes and applications on our computers. In this way, some people discovered the existence of the MRT.exe system application and became inquisitive in learning about this Windows 10 element.

You may also have noticed this process taking up a huge chunk of your CPU memory or RAM in the Windows Task Manager. In order to feed your curiosity, we made this article explaining, in detail, everything you can possibly want to know about the MRP.exe file on your Windows 10 PC.

What is the MRT.exe on Windows 10?

The MRT.exe file or the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool is a Windows 10 process that focuses on detecting and removing a virus and other forms of malicious files from your computer. The MRT.exe is used when there are problems with files and folders, or when you need to make changes to the settings on your computer.

Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool Window

On a Windows 10 Operating System (OS) based computer, the MRT.exe utility is located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory. However, you may not find this attribute in every version of the Windows 10 OS. 

System32 directory with the MRT application

When the MRT.exe file is running, it looks into factors like running applications, programs that affect the functioning of other programs, keyboard, and mouse activity, internet activity, and more.

Why does the MRT.exe exist on my computer?

The Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool was first placed on the Windows OS to prevent viruses and other forms of malware from causing harm to the computer. The Malicious Software Removal Tool was created by Microsoft to scan your computer for common malware, ransomware, and computer worms on a regular basis.

This useful program from Microsoft will scan your computer for viruses and then delete it. Every month, a one-time antivirus scan is performed by the MRT.exe tool in the form of a Windows Update. This does not make the MRT.exe a very important process. The system can function very normally even in the absence of this tool.

How is the MRT.exe different from any Antivirus Software?

By now, there are chances that you might be thinking about how the MRT.exe tool is any different from Windows Security or any other antivirus program. This is a very confusing situation unless you know what these two features do and how they stand out from each other.

These are the differences between the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and any other anti-malware application – 

  • Only some types of malware are removed by the MRT.exe. This particular harmful malware is only a small part of the total amount of malware that exists on the internet today.
  • The Malicious Software Removal tool removes malware from a machine that has already been infected with it. Antivirus software prevents viruses from infecting a machine. It is far more beneficial to prevent malware from infecting a computer than it is to remove it once an infection has happened.
  • MRT.exe is focused on detecting and removing active harmful malware. Malicious software that is currently executing on the computer is known as active malware. Malware that isn’t operating isn’t detectable by the Windows tool. Antivirus utilities are can carry out this task.
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Why does the MRTexe use my network connection?

One of the responsibilities of the MRT.exe is to monitor the activities of the computer while using the internet. Therefore, it is very important for the process to be connected to the internet so that they can check this. Apart from this, this utility connects to a network to download updates for the software and antivirus, and in the case of a virtual machine, it may even download telemetry data.

Is the MRT.exe a legit process or Malware?

The MRT.exe is a legitimate Windows OS process/utility. But there are chances of malicious files masquerading as useful files. If this is your case, there are no manual ways to find out if the process is a clean file, a virus, or file corruption. It is also impossible to determine which process is a virus and which is actually functioning properly.

Sometimes, there are chances that the false MRT.exe has an obvious replacement. Be on the lookout for names like the following –

  • TROJ_GEN.R03BC0OC318
  • TROJ_GEN.R002C0OCP18
  • Trojan:Win32/Occamy.C
  • Trojan:Win32/Tiggre!rfn

Can I delete the MRT.exe files?

Yes, it is possible to delete the Malicious Removal Tool from your Windows 10 computer. In fact, this is an option for you to fix it when the MRT.exe is a virus or requires replacement. However, when the file is actually legitimate there is no need to delete the MRT.exe file from your computer. It can cause security-related problems if wrongly deleted.

Users who have deleted this tool or are considering removing the MRT.exe for safety-related reasons needn’t worry about this course of action. When this file is deleted, it can be brought back with a simple reboot of your system or when a system update is downloaded and installed.

Verifying the integrity of the MRT.exe process

If you suspect that the MRT.exe is a virus and not a legitimate process, you will have to instantly check if the file is good and then, go on to delete it from your system. There are four Windows-based ways to check if the tool is in fact intact and not any form of potential threat.

Method 1: Take a look at the file directory

As mentioned earlier, it is very important that the MRT.exe remains in the C:\Windows\System32. If it is found elsewhere, you are dealing with an indefinite threat to your computer. Here’s how you can check where the file is –

  • Launch the Task Manager window on your computer. There are three ways for a Windows user to launch this tool – pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard, from the taskbar context menu, or through the Task Termination window (Ctrl + Alt + Del).
  • Go to the Details tab and you’ll see a list of all the processes running on your system, in the executable file (.exe) formats.
  • Locate the MRT.exe file and right-click on it.
  • Now, choose the Open File Location option from the context menu.
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You should be redirected to C:\Windows\System32. If you are taken elsewhere, it means that your MRT.exe is a hazardous element and is possibly threatening the safety of your system, even as you were checking the location of the file.

You can also use the Resource Monitor to check the location of the MRT.exe file or to check the digital signature of the utility.

Method 2: Verify the process’ digital signature

A digital signature should be able to help you recognize the actual source of the file. Considering the fact that digital signatures are signed by the developers of any application, checking these should be able to tell you who the creator of the MRT.exe is, on your Windows PC.

This is the procedure to check the digital signature of the process.

  • Open the Windows Task Manager. You can use either of the three ways mentioned above.
  • Move to the Details tab and right-click on the MRT.exe.

 

End Task option for the MRT.exe
  • Click on the Properties option from the pop-up context.
  • In this window, go into the Digital Signatures tab.
Digital Signature signed by "Microsoft Windows"
  • You will be able to see a small list of the signatures. All of which should be signed by “Microsoft Windows”.

If you see a different signature, your computer is hosting a virus. If the process is a threat, end it instantly and delete the file from your system.

Method 3: Scan the system

A simple scan of your system can flush out most viruses and malware from your computer. You will need a good antivirus program on your computer. These tools run regular scans of your system in time intervals they are programmed to. You can also prompt it to run deep scans of your system and this is what can detect the virus pretending to be MRT.exe.

If you do not have a third-party antivirus, you can always use the Windows Virus & Threat Protection section in the Windows Settings. This is a very effective tool but if you are looking for extra precision and more features you’ll need a subscription to antivirus software.

Method 4: Run the MRT.exe in the Windows Sandbox

The Windows Sandbox is an application testing area available in the Windows 10 and Windows 11 Operating Systems. This can be very helpful if you wish to experiment with the MRT.exe application on your system, without putting your data and privacy at risk. If this tool is enabled, you can use it on your computer.

If it is not active, follow these steps to enable the Windows Sandbox –

Your first step should be to check if your system is compatible to run the Window Sandbox. The minimum requirements to use the Sandbox area are as follows –

  • Operating System – All Windows 10 versions except for Home edition or Windows 11
  • OS version – AMD64 architecture
  • Software Enabled BIOS virtualization features
  • RAM Space – 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • Storage Space – 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
  • Processor – Two CPU cores (four cores with hyperthreading recommended)

If your system is powerful enough to run the sandbox, proceed with these steps –

  • You will have to enable virtualization on your system. If you have a hardware device, you just have to check it. For a virtual machine, you will have to open the Windows PowerShell tool and execute this command:
Set-VMProcessor -VMName \<VMName> -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true
  • Now, search for the “Turn Windows Features on or off” in the search field and open the Windows Optional Features utility.
  • Choose the Windows Sandbox feature and select OK.
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Once these steps are done, search for Windows Sandbox and open the feature, Here, you can run tests of the computer and there will be no harm to it.

Errors related to the MRT.exe

There are two different types of errors related to the Malicious Software Removal Tools that have been noted and reported by Windows users –

  • High CPU usage
  • Corrupt or MIssing Malicious Software

MRT.exe High CPU Memory Usage issue

A transient system fault may cause the Malicious Software Removal tool to utilize an excessive amount of system resources. If the process returns in the Windows Task Manager and persists in demanding excessive amounts of CPU space and system memory, restart your computer and check again. If the issue persists, the software elimination tool is most likely corrupted and harmful.

Corrupt or Missing MRT.exe file

If the MRT is corrupted or destroyed, strange things might happen, such as false alarms, suspicious URLs, app blocking, process shutting, and so forth. High CPU memory usage, system scanning issues, and a high device temperature are all possible symptoms.

Ending the MRT.exe high CPU Usage issue

If these are the situations you are dealing with, you will have to kill the process instantly or delete the application. This is another reminder for you to understand that this is not an essential tool. You do not have to think about losing a security element for your system. This is what you have to do –

  • Open the Windows Task Manager.
  • Go to the Details tab and find the MRT.exe process.
MRT.exe process with the End Task button
  • Select the process and click on the End Task button.

This is everything you can want to know about the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on your system.

FAQs

What Does Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool Do?

The MRT.exe file, also known as the Microsoft Windows Dangerous Software Removal Tool, is a Windows 10 process that detects and removes viruses and other malicious files. When there are issues with files and directories, or when you really have to implement adjustments to your computer’s settings, MRT.exe is employed.

What Is MRT Exe For?

The Malicious Software Removal tool, runs scans of the computer once every month. This monitors elements of your computer like running applications, programs that affect the functioning of other programs, keyboard, and mouse activity, internet activity, and more.

How Do I Disable MRT Exe?

– Tap the Windows key, then type in Task Scheduler and press Enter on your keyboard.
– Go to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > RemovalTools using the directory folder on the side panel.
MRT_HB may be disabled by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable from the pop-up context that appears.

Can You Remove MRT Exe?

Yes, it is possible to remove the MRT.exe from your computer. There will not be any major differences in the functioning of your computer even if this file is absent on your computer. In fact, this is a solution that would help you with when this tool is using too much CPU memory or when it is not available for use in the system.