What is conhost.exe and why is it running?

You may have noticed the Console Window host process in the Task Manager. This is another process that could be eating your CPU more than usual.

What is the conhost.exe?

First came the ClientServer Runtime System Service (CSRSS) for Microsoft Windows XP, a long time ago. This was a system process that controlled Command Prompt. Then, Windows Vista introduced the Desktop Window Manager as the CSRSS caused crashes. This evolved into the Console Window Host process.

The Console Window Host process was first released in the Microsoft Windows Operating System (Windows 7) to host the Control Window on the hosting computer and offer security. This process is positioned between the CSRSS process and the Command Prompt (cmd.exe). 


It is a cover for running the CSRSS and also grants the capacity to carry out operations in the latest OS user interface elements. This is located in C:\ Windows \System32 folder

Even if the Console host is listed out in the Windows Task manager as an independent service, it works with help from the CSRSS process. In the process manager, you’ll find the Console Window Host process listed in the Process Manager as csrss.exe

What does Conhost.exe do on Windows computers?

This process upgrades the Command Prompt by adding some neat features that were not available on the previous versions of the command prompt tool. A minor use for this is that it enables the drag and drop feature in the Command Prompt.

This helps record keyboards and mice input. This is also responsible for the dragging and dropping to place file location in Command Prompt. All the elements and programs related to this including Command Prompt use the frame of the same window for lesser complications.

System Apps That Use Conhost.exe

Though it may be any version of Operating System designed by Microsoft (Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10), a number of system files use the Microsoft conhost.exe file. 

The Command Prompt employs the conhost.exe to help drag and drop files in the Command Prompt window. This is one of the ways for the Command Prompt software to interact with the Microsoft Windows 10 explorer. 

There are also a number of third-party applications that utilize the conhost.exe when they require access to the command line. 

Command Line

Command-Line is an interpretation software that lets users enter commands and execute them. This interpreter requires the conhost.exe to get in touch with the Microsoft Windows Process Explorer.

Is it a legitimate and safe process?

The conhost.exe is a legitimate process that was developed to stop the exploitation of computer resources by Malware. It is quite safe to use and does not mean any harm to your computer, mostly.    

Is this a virus? Can this harm my computer?

Under normal circumstances, the Conhost.exe is not a virus. But when malware developers try to attack computers, they name their harmful files the same name as Windows processes or services to camouflage their presence on the computer.

It is possible for viruses and other malware to infect this process. If you suspect the presence of a rouge Console Host executable, run a full system scanning of your PC

Why is the Conhost.exe process spiking my CPU usage and Memory?

 There are reported cases of this executable using about 80 percent of the RAM. This is way too much for a simple system-level process. This happened because of a trojan virus called the Console Miner, which was used for mining cryptocurrency.

It looked like a real process but it was discovered to be a malicious file when it was found to be located in a different location (%userprofile%\ Appdata\ Roaming\ Microsoft) and not the usual (C:\ Windows\ System32).

Why do I see multiple instances of the conhost executable?

When you open the Task Manager, you might see more than one conhost.exe system process running. This is not unusual. All the processes collectively should add up and not use a lot of CPU memory.

The problem begins only when these processes use a lot of RAM on the computer. When this happens, your ideal move should be locating the source of the problem.

Though the task manager does not provide enough details to work on this problem, there is the Windows Process Explorer.

Can I get rid of the Console Window host?

 The Conhost interface is important for a lot of processes to run. And so, there will be a lot of complications if this process is disabled. Therefore, it is not possible for the Console Window host to be disabled. Do not try to delete this, through the Task Manager unless you wish for your computer to crash.

Also, there is no possible valid reason for this process to be disabled. It is a harmless background process that helps apps interface with the lows of the Windows operating system. 

If you feel like this is infected by a virus, you can switch to the latest version of the Powershell. Or there is an easy method to check if it is harmless or not.

Checking the conhost executable

The conhost.exe process is present in the C: \Windows \System32 folder.

Checking the conhost executable

 This should be available only in this location. You can use the Windows Task Manager to find out. 

Follow these steps to locate the file on Windows 10:

  1. Open the Windows 10 Task Manager. You can press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard together or Right Click on the Task Bar and select the Task Manager.
Open the Windows 10 Task Manager
  1. When the Task Manager window opens, search for the Console Window Host process in the Processes tab. 

You can also search in the Details tab for the conhost.exe running on your computer. You’ll see a few of the same tasks running.

You can also search in the Details tab for the conhost.exe running on your computer.

Look a few programs down and you will see the csrss.exe file.

Look a few programs down and you will see the csrss.exe file.
  1. You can either be in the Details or Processes tab, after your search for the Conhost.exe process running on your computer is over, right-click on it and select Open File Location.
right-click on it and select Open File Location.
  1. Now, this action should take you to the System32 folder in C:\ Windows. If it does not, the conhost.exe is a fake executable file you are dealing with viruses or some other form of malware file.

Removing a Conhost.exe Virus file

The Console Window Host miner shares the same executable file name with the legitimate process and causes mayhem in your system’s security. 

A scan with antivirus apps should remove the illegal conhost.exe file and also related harmful malware from your system. 

You may see the End Task button when you click on the program in the Task Manager. But do not press the button because ending this task, abruptly can be very dangerous to your PC. Though the End Task button may be highlighted when you select this task, it is not an encouragement for you to click on it. A lot of programs may crash immediately or your OS can go haywire.

End Task for the selected Console Window Host

When you search for this file’s location, you should be directed to the System32 folder. If you are taken elsewhere, check if there are any other essential software or other important documents in the folder. If there is any such information, relocate them and delete the entire location.


The Console Window Host is a service that you could find running in the background of every Windows 10 PC. This is related to the csrss.exe executable and plays a key role in the Command Prompt executable. It is quite normal when it causes high memory usage.

But this could be a virus when some hacker who wishes to gain access to your device, manipulates the malware to take the name and purpose of Windows processes. Thus, this manages to get past security. This can be a really bad situation for your device and give you a hard time. 

Though this might sound complicated, this is quite easy to fix. This is nothing to worry about. Antivirus software will help you locate this problem and remove it from your PC.