What is conhost.exe?
Is it legitimate or shall
I delete it?

When things start going wrong on your computer, your first instinct is probably to pull up the Task Manager and look for files that look like they don’t belong. Among those files, one that often stands out most is conhost.exe. In fact, conhost.exe is an important file that should always be running, regardless which edition of Windows you are using. Let us help you understand what this file is and why it should be running.

What is conhost.exe?

Conhost.exe is short for Console Window Host. Along with csrss.exe (ClientServer Runtime System Service) and cmd.exe (Command Prompt), it is a key part of run the windows you use on your computer. Conhost.exe is actually a relatively recent addition to this process. It was developed for Windows 7 to help ease some of the heavy burden put on the csrss.exe file.

What Does conhost.exe Do?

The specific job of conhost.exe is to shift some of the elements of running the system level services from csrss.exe to allow for more customization and security. By moving these elements, Windows is able to do more theme-related elements without risking the ever-important csrss.exe file getting corrupted.

Can I Remove conhost.exe?

Since conhost.exe is such an important file, you cannot remove it. Since it is so intimately connected to csrss.exe and cmd.exe, removing this file would mean your Windows operating system couldn’t function. There are protections in place to keep you from accidentally deleting it.


There are instances where you can and should remove a file called conhost.exe. It’s important to point out that there’s no need to worry if you see multiple versions of the file in your Task Manager. Every time cmd.exe runs, a new conhost.exe should open. This can be true even if the program running that requires conhost.exe isn’t visibly open. There are some reasons to be concerned if you see one of a few things. First, conhost.exe should use very little CPU or Memory.

If you see a conhost.exe file using either of those in a large amount, that’s the sign of a problem. Some malware disguises itself by using the same file name as normal files in an effort to avoid detection. If you are uncertain if a conhost.exe file is malware or not, right-click the suspect operation in your Task Manager and then click Open file location. Any legitimate conhost.exe file will open in a Windows\System32 folder. If the file opens anywhere else, it is malware and should be removed.

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