What is COM Surrogate?

COM Surrogate is one of those processes that you may find running in your Windows 10 task manager. You might even find more than one COM Surrogate process running at the same time. If so, don’t worry — COM Surrogate is not a virus.

In this comprehensive article we’ll explain you what COM Surrogate is and whether you should remove it from your computer, or from your task manager.


What’s COM Surrogate?

Telling what COM Surrogate does by simple looking at it is not very easy. The process has no custom icon and provides no information about what it is that it’s doing. Not only that, but there might be multiple instances of COM Surrogate running at once.

Right-clicking on the process and choosing to see its details, allows us to understand it a bit further. Details show that the process is actually called dllhost.exe and that it runs under your user account, and not under your system or network service.

COM Surrogate runs in the background of every Windows 10 computer and it hosts DLL files — hence the actual name.

Saying that it hosts DLLs is easy to do. Actually understanding what it does is a bit more complicated.

Some Windows 10 programs require COM objects in order to function. COM objects are a part of an interface created by Microsoft for developers, and they serve different functions, depending on the program.

The big problem with these COM objects is that they would randomly crash. Since Windows Explorer relied on a COM object in order to function, when the COM object crashed, the Explorer would crash as well, therefor crashing your entire system.

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However, Microsoft found out the perfect solution: COM Surrogate. You may begin to understand what it actually does based on its name.

COM Surrogate runs the COM object in a different process from the process that requested said object. If we keep using the Explorer example, the COM object wouldn’t run in the Explorer itself, but on a separated, different process — the COM Surrogate process.

This meant that if the COM object crashed, as they were prone to, the process that requested said object wouldn’t crash as well. Only COM Surrogate would crash with the object.


Is COM Surrogate a Virus?

Open your task manager and check the COM Surrogate process location. If it’s located somewhere in System32 then it is unlikely to be a virus.

com surrogate

COM Surrogate doesn’t use much memory nor CPU power, and usually has no more than two instances running. If you have several COM Surrogate instances on your task manager and your CPU usage is spiking due to it, then you might have a virus disguised as COM Surrogate.

In any case, the best solution is to perform an antivirus check on your computer once a month, or, better yet, once a week.

If you have any doubts regarding the COM Surrogate process or regarding any other unknown process in your task manager, then let us know. We’re here to help you.