What Is Csrss.exe and Should You Remove It?

When you open your computer’s Task Manager, chances are you’re going to find the csrss.exe process running.

If you don’t find any “csrss.exe” process, than you will most likely find one (or several) called “Client Server Runtime Process”.

Wondering what this process is? In this article we’re going to teach you all about it.


What Is csrss.exe (or Client Server Runtime Process)?

The Client Server Runtime Process is an essential part of Windows. It’s not harmful and you shouldn’t have the need to remove it.

A long time ago, before Windows NT 4.0 (released all the way back in 1996), the Client Server Runtime Process was responsible for the graphical part of your computer.

Csrss.exe took care of stuff like managing windows and drawing graphics on your screen, among many other things.

After Windows NT 4.0, these tasks were integrated in the Windows kernel. Still, the Client Server Runtime Process didn’t disappear.

The csrss.exe process is still essential to Windows because, even though it doesn’t handle the graphical part anymore, it is responsible for console windows and the entire shutdown operation.

Before Windows 7, the Client Server Runtime Process still handled the graphical part of the console windows on the command prompt.

Microsoft changed that starting with Windows 7, making the Console Host process draw the console windows.

Still, the Console Host process (or conhost.exe), which draws the console windows, is launched by csrss.exe, making it a still essential process for console-related tasks.


Should You Remove Csrss.exe?

As we’ve seen, csrss.exe is an essential part of Windows, therefor you cannot disable it. Even if you could, why would you want to do it? The process uses a very tiny amount of your system’s resources — and only does it to perform critical functions.

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As you can see in the image, Windows warns you that ending the process will result in a system shut down or will render your system unusable. Even if you still try to end it, you will get an “Access Denied” message. You cannot terminate this process.

The Client Server Runtime Process is launched as soon as Windows boots up. If, by any reason, Windows can’t launch csrss.exe when it boots, then you’ll get a Bluescreen error. If you happen to have a 0xC000021A BSOD, know that it is caused by failing to launch csrss.exe.


Can Csrss.exe Be a Virus?

Like any other process, it is possible for a virus to disguise itself as the csrss.exe process. Usually, you can suspect that a process is a virulent one due to the fact that it is constantly running, however that is not the case with csrss.exe — the legitimate process is always running.

task manager

If you suspect that the process might be infected, you can try and check its location. The original csrss.exe file is located in your System32 directory. If it is located anywhere else on your drive, then chances are it is an infected process (even then you should still be able to see the legitimate one).

Regardless of what you think about csrss.exe legitimacy, the best thing to do is to keep your computer’s security constantly updated and to run your antivirus frequently. The normal csrss.exe file is nothing to worry about, and without it, Windows couldn’t run.