If you have seen one too many rundll32.exe processes in the Task Manager and are wondering what these are and why there are so many of them, then this article is for you. The rundll32.exe is a system file that runs quietly in the background to help different programs manage their work.
In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about the rundll32 file. In addition to that, you’ll also have your doubts about rundll32 cleared here. For example, if the rundll32 process is a virus or not, how to get rid of the “rundll32 process has stopped working error,” etc.
What Is Rundll32.exe?
Rundll32.exe file is a Windows Host Process that can be found in C:\Windows\System32. Rundll32 stands for run DLL as an app. On 64 bit Windows operating systems, you’ll find two rundll32.exe processes in the \System32 and \SystemWOW64 that call the 32 bit and 64 bit DLLs. These are Windows core system files and are signed by the Microsoft Corporation.
You must have seen multiple “.dll” files in the folders of almost every application.DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library. There are millions of such dynamic link library files in each of your application folders. These store common pieces of application logic that are accessible from several applications.
Now, you can’t directly launch a DLL file which means the code inside a .DLL file can’t be executed directly. So, you need some other way to call. The rundll32.exe is used to launch it and call certain methods within specific DLLs to execute some Windows functions either remotely or on a schedule.
How to tell if the Windows host process (Rundll32) is malware or not?
Some malware can disguise themselves as rundll32.exe. So, if you find a rundll32.exe process that is located elsewhere and not in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, that could be a virus. The creators of malware programs often name their processes rundll.exe so that these can escape being detected.
- If the rundll32.exe file is placed in a subfolder of the path C:\Windows, then it is a Windows core system file signed by Microsoft. If the rundll32.exe is placed in a subfolder of the user’s profile folder, it isn’t a Windows core file.
- Moreover, unlike the system file, this one won’t have a description or a visible window either. Such a file is 71% dangerous.
- On the other hand, if the rundll32.exe file is located in a subfolder for temporary files, it is 77% dangerous.
- If found in a subfolder of C:\Program Files, it is 74% dangerous.
You can go to the Task Manager and check if there are any fake rundll32.exe processes. Follow the steps given below to do so:
Step 1. Go to the Windows search box and type in Task Manager. Then, click on the first option to open the Task Manager window.
Step 2. Click on View and choose Select Columns. A list of columns will come up that you can add to the Task Manager tabular display.
Step 3. Locate the Image Path Name and check it. Click on OK and that adds the Image Path Name column which shows every process’s folder path.
Step 4. Now, you can look for all the rundll32.exe processes that don’t reside in the Windows System32 folder.
How To Fix Windows Host Process Rundll32 Has Stopped Working Error?
You might have encountered the “rundll32 process has stopped working” error mostly when you open certain programs, especially the third-party ones. Sometimes, conflicting software with improper settings, or specific faulty system files can keep rundll32 from working properly. As a result, you can get the error “Windows host process (Rundll32) has stopped working.
Other problems related to the rundll32 process are high disk usage and high CPU usage. Such issues are faced by people who have been using Windows for a long duration due to which millions of dll files get collected in the computer.
Another reason behind this could be a malware infection on your computer. Whatever the cause might be, follow the given fixes one by one until you get rid of the problem:
- Solution 1: Disabling items from Task Scheduler
- Solution 2: Disabling Telemetry Services
- Solution 3: Renaming aienv.dll
- Solution 4: Uninstalling Google App Engine
- Solution 5: Disabling Inventory Collector
- Solution 6: Amending ProgramDataUpdater
- Solution 7: Scan For Malware
- Solution 8: Run The SFC Scan
- Solution 9: Perform a DISM Scan
- Solution 10: Booting in Safe Mode
- Solution 11: Disable Third-Party Services
- Solution 12: Restore Windows from a restore point
Solution 1: Disabling items from Task Scheduler
Step 1. Go to the Windows search bar and type in Administrative tools. Open the first relevant result that comes up.
Step 2. Locate the Task Scheduler option and open it.
Step 3. From the left navigation pane, select Task Scheduler Library, then click on Microsoft > Windows. Finally, select Customer Experience Improvement.
Step 4. Now, on the right side, you’ll find the Consolidator option. Click on it and open its properties.
Step 5. The Consolidator Properties window will open up. Go to the Triggers tab and click on the trigger that can activate every service once it’s triggered. Click on it and then click on ‘Edit.’
Step 6. Go to Advanced Settings and click on Enabled to uncheck it. Hit the OK button to save the changes.
Step 7. Come back to the list of items and right-click on them one by one and click on ‘Disabled’
Step 8. Close the window and restart your computer to check if the issue got fixed or not.
Solution 2: Disabling Telemetry Services
Step 1. Launch the Run application by pressing the Windows key + R. Then, type in “services.msc” in the Run dialog box and hit the Enter button.
Step 2. Then, the ‘services’ windows will pop up. Look for “Connected User Experience.” Double-click on it to open the Settings windows.
Step 3. Click on “Stop” under the service status. Now, click on “Startup type” and set it to Disabled. After making edits, click on OK to save them and exit.
Step 4. Restart your system and check if the problem has been resolved or not.
Solution 3: Renaming aienv.dll
Step 1. Open the Windows Explorer and go to the following file path: C:\Windows\System32
Step 2. Once you are in the above folder, try looking for “aeinv.dll.”
Step 3. When you find the file, right-click on it and click on Rename. Then, rename it to “oldaeinv.dll.” Windows ask you for permission to rename the file. Click on “Continue.”
Step 4. If you can’t rename it this way, try changing the file’s ownership then try changing the ownership of the file to gain permission to rename it.
Solution 4: Uninstalling Google App Engine
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R and then type “control panel” in the run dialogue box. Then, press the Enter button. This will take you to the control panel.
Step 2. Once you reach the control panel, click on “Uninstall a program” under the Programs heading.
Step 3. Find Google App Engine and right-click on it and hit the Uninstall option
Step 4. Restart the computer and see if the problem got resolved.
Solution 5: Disabling Inventory Collector
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R, then type “gpedit.msc” in the dialogue box and press the Enter button.
Step 2. The Group Policy Editor of your system will open up. In the editor, go to the following address: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Application Compatibility
Step 3. Double-click on “Turn Off Inventory Collector” from the right side of the screen to open the properties.
Step 4. Once you are in the properties, click on Enabled. Then, press on OK to save changes and exit. Restart your system and check if the issue got resolved.
Solution 6: Amending ProgramDataUpdater
Step 1. Press the Windows key + S to launch the Windows search bar. Type in “Task Scheduler” and click on the first result to open it.
Step 2. In the Task Scheduler window, go to the following path:
Microsoft > Windows > Application Experience
Step 3. Right-click on “ProgramDataUpdater” and click on Disabled from the dropdown menu. You’ll find it located towards the right side.
Step 4. Restart your system and check if the problem was resolved.
If you want to set a time limit on the task, then follow steps 1 and 2 stated above and then right-click on ProgramDataUpdater.
Step 1. Then click on Properties and go to the Settings tab. Ensure that “Stop the task if it runs longer than” is checked. You can edit the value next to it and set it to 1 minute.
Lastly, click on OK to save the changes.
Step 2. Restart your system for the changes to take place. Then, check if the CPU usage has improved or not.
Solution 7: Scan For Malware
Step 1. Click on the Windows Start menu and type Windows Security. Then, choose Open under Windows Security.
Step 2. Click on Virus & Threat Protection and then choose the Scan option
Step 3. Now, choose Full scan and then, click on Scan now.
Solution 8: Run The SFC Scan
Step 1. Go to the Windows start menu and type the command prompt in the search box. Once the command prompt app comes in the search results, click on Run as administrator.
Step 2. Enter the command sfc /scannow
Step 3. Hit the Enter button. Wait for the SFC scan to complete. It could take several minutes to finish.
Solution 9: Perform a DISM Scan
Step 1. In the command prompt, run the command given below:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
Step 2. Once done, run the following commands one after the other:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Solution 10: Booting in Safe Mode
Using the safe mode will help you to determine if the problem is due to the applications on your computer or if it is due to an underlying problem in the OS itself.
If your system works fine when in the safe mode with normal disk/CPU usage, then the problem is due to some third-party application. Boot your system in safe mode and then open the task manager, which shows all running Windows tasks, to check if the CPU and disk usage is normal or not.
If there were no issues when in Safe mode, then perform a clean boot of the system to determine which application is causing the problem. Then, you need to disable the third-party services as explained in the following section.
Solution 11: Disable Third-Party Services
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type msconfig and click on OK
Step 2. The System Configuration window will open up and click on the Services tab.
Step 3. Locate Hide all Microsoft services and check the box next to it. This will reveal the third-party services only.
Step 4. Click on Disable all and select Apply. Then, click on OK and save the changes. Then, you’ll get a prompt, click on Exit without restart.
Solution 12: Restore Windows from a restore point
If the problem was there when you booted your computer in Safe Mode, then you can try restoring your Windows Operating System to a point where it was devoid of the current issue. To do so, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Press the Windows key + S to open the search bar. Type in “restore” in the search bar and click on the first result that comes up.
Step 2. Click on the System Protection tab and click on System Restore.
Step 3. A wizard will open up. Click on Next to proceed with the on-screen instructions to restore your system.
Step 4. Choose a restore point from the list of options.
Step 5. Save all your work and back up the files you need before proceeding with the restoration. Confirm the action and the system restore process will start.
The above article tells you all you need to know about the rundll32 process. Other than that, it also contains fixes to resolve the error “Windows host process (rundll32) has stopped working.” If none of the above fixes work, you can check if the Windows is updated or not.
You could also perform a factory reset of your Windows OS. Go to Start followed by Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. Then, you can choose whether to keep your files or remove them during the reset.
There could be an underlying issue that is causing this error and to resolve that, you might need to reinstall Windows 10.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is rundll32 a virus?
No, rundll32 is not a virus. It is a Microsoft Windows core system process aka Windows host process. However, sometimes, viruses and other malware programs can disguise themselves as rundll32 files.
How do I remove the Windows Host Process rundll32 virus?
If you find that some of the rundll32 processes running in your system are not system files, then you can manually go to the location of these files and delete them. Other than that, you can also run a malware scan on your system. Check out the above article to find several other ways to get rid of the rundll32 virus.
How do I fix Windows Host Process rundll32?
There are several fixes you can try out while trying to fix the Windows Host Process rundll32. Some of these include replacing the corrupted rundll32 file using Startup Repair, running the scannow command, clearing browser cache, updating your system, etc. And if nothing works, you can opt for a system restore.
How do I know if I have a rundll32 virus?
The rundll32.exe file is not a virus. But, malware or viruses can disguise themselves as rundll32 files. You need to check the location of the rundll32.exe and if it is not under the C:\Windows\System32 folder, then you’re probably dealing with a virus.