Short on time? Here’s how to remove the COM Surrogate virus:
1. Scan Device — Run a “Full System Scan” with a high-quality antivirus (Norton is the best).
2. Remove Virus — After the scan is complete, let the antivirus remove all instances of the COM Surrogate infection.
3. Stay Protected — Protect yourself from further infections with a high-quality internet security package (again, Norton is the best).
COM Surrogate is a normal Windows process, but hackers use fake versions of it to infect a PC while avoiding detection. The COM Surrogate virus is one of the most common malware infections on Windows computers — it’s pretty dangerous, but getting it off of your PC actually isn’t very hard.
However, you should never try to delete the COM Surrogate virus manually. If you attempt to remove the virus manually, you risk causing permanent damage that can lead to Windows 10 failing completely.
The most efficient and secure way to remove the COM Surrogate virus is by installing a comprehensive antivirus suite. A good antivirus will not only quarantine and remove every instance of the COM Surrogate infection from your computer, but it will also ensure you remain safe from future threats with its real-time protection and scanning capabilities.
Quick Tip: Norton can do this, but it isn’t free. However, you can buy Norton, use it to remove the virus, and then return it with the company’s 60-day money-back guarantee.
Get Started Now — How to Remove the COM Surrogate Virus
Preliminary Step: Checking for a COM Surrogate Infection
This step is for advanced users who want help in understanding malware diagnostics. If you simply want to remove the COM Surrogate infection (and other malware), skip ahead to learn how.
If you want to check whether the COM Surrogate process running on your system is malware, you must first understand what the standard COM Surrogate process is.
COM is an acronym for Component Object Model and is related to dllhost.exe in your System32 folder.
In simple terms, it’s a binary interface that communicates with different software and increases the software’s capabilities. For example, when a folder on your OS needs to draw thumbnails, it will request COM Surrogate to do just that. This is why COM Surrogate is referred to as “middleware”.
COM Surrogate is a pathway between applications, commands, and your operating system. It’s important for your computer’s everyday functioning.
This is why hackers frequently disguise malware as middleware — they want to get access to your entire system.
That said, here’s how to know if you’re looking at an authentic instance of COM Surrogate or a dangerous piece of malware.
Bring up your Task Manager by hitting CTRL + Shift + ESC.
In the picture above, you can see COM Surrogate is running twice on the system. While this may look alarming, it’s not. It simply means multiple applications are using the middleware to help them in communicating with the OS.
To confirm this, you can right-click on both instances and click Open File Location.
If they go to a file called “dllhost.exe” in the System32 folder on the system, then it is unlikely they are malicious.
If the file is located anywhere other than dllhost.exe, then you have a virus and should follow my removal steps.
Step 1. Identify the COM Surrogate Virus With Your Antivirus (And Don’t Make the Problem Worse!)
IMPORTANT: Do not connect your cell phone, tablet, or USB drive to an infected computer. In doing so, you risk the virus replicating itself onto those devices.
Once you’ve downloaded a secure antivirus program, run a full disk scan on your computer. Even if you think you know where the infection started or you know where the suspicious .exe file is located, a full disk scan is best.
A full disk scan will detect, quarantine, and remove every copy of the COM Surrogate virus, as well as ensure that your device isn’t infected with any other malware, including spyware, rootkits, or worms that can often run undetected.
Remember: Run the full system scan until it’s finished. DO NOT cancel the scan when you see the virus appear on the infected file list. There’s no way of knowing how many other copies of it exist in your system.
The full scan can take anywhere from 1–4 hours, so sit tight because your antivirus needs to analyze every single file and process on your computer.
When your antivirus has alerted you that the scan is complete, every instance of malware on your system will be identified and quarantined — including the COM Surrogate virus.
You can now proceed to Step 2.
Step 2. Remove the COM Surrogate Virus Infection and Delete Any Other Infected Files
When your antivirus has identified and quarantined all of your compromised files, it will give you the option to delete them. Advanced users can go through the quarantined files and make sure there are no false positives before hitting the Delete button. But most users will just want to trust their antivirus software — if it’s been flagged as malware by a program like Norton, chances are you don’t want it on your device.
After you’ve removed all of the compromised files from your system, it’s a good idea to restart your computer.
After you restart your device, run a second full disk scan to ensure your antivirus has removed all traces of the COM Surrogate infection. This may not take as long during the second scan — many antiviruses, including Norton, remember which files they have already scanned and are able to analyze your disk much more rapidly after the first full disk scan.
As before, be sure to let your antivirus finish its second scan. Once the scan is finished, and you’ve reviewed and deleted all of the compromised files in your quarantine, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your device is 100% malware-free! For now…
Even though you’ve finished removing the COM Surrogate virus, there are still thousands of malware files out there that can infect your devices, compromise your online accounts, and spread through your Wi-Fi network.
Step 3. Keep Your Device from Getting Re-Infected
Since the COM Surrogate virus has infected you once already, you’ve witnessed first-hand just how easy it is to get malware on your PC.
New malware is released every day, and there’s also the risk of online data harvesting, identity theft, and public Wi-Fi hackers.
In today’s online world, how can you keep your devices and data safe? There are several things you can do:
Keep Your Software, OS, and Drivers Up-To-Date
When developers find vulnerabilities in their software that are being exploited by hackers, they patch those vulnerabilities and send the patches to users in the form of software updates.
Software updates can be annoying, but they are essential to keeping your computer safe from the latest malware threats.
However, with the amount of devices, apps, and programs that most users are running these days, it can be really hard to keep track of which programs need to be updated. One great tool comes from the antivirus provider Avira — it lets you scan your PC for out-of-date software and automatically update it.
It’s also incredibly important that you stay on the latest operating system and keep your drivers updated.
When an operating system ages, developers will stop supporting it. So any vulnerabilities won’t be fixed with updates. This means that older operating systems grow more and more vulnerable every day as hackers continue to develop tools to infiltrate them.
Most operating systems and programs have an auto-update option. Wherever possible, select this option to make sure you’re keeping all of your devices and system drivers up-to-date.
Don’t Download Suspicious Files
Whether it’s from an email or a suspicious website, don’t download files unless you’re 100% sure you recognize where they’re coming from. The vast majority of malware is delivered with seemingly legitimate free software or it’s attached to deceptive emails — if you don’t put malware on your computer, it’s very hard to get infected.
Your antivirus can help with this by scanning emails and tagging suspicious files, plus scanning all downloads before they can make changes on your computer. However, it’s still best to exercise common sense and avoid files from unknown sources.
Secure Your Wireless Network
Make sure your wireless network is secure before you go online. You can do this by using a firewall, but you should also ensure your home Wi-Fi connection is password-protected, too.
You can see if a connection is password-protected by looking in your network list — the ones that aren’t password-protected have a warning sign next to them.
Unsecured networks are far more vulnerable since anyone can connect to them, but hackers can infiltrate a secured network, too.
Most people don’t think to set their Wi-Fi router’s password, and the default router password ends up being something like “password”. This is a very easy password to guess, and hackers guess these weak passwords and break into “password-protected” networks all the time.
To set a password for your home router, you will need to log into your router’s settings on a web browser and follow the instructions provided. When you purchased your router, you should have received instructions explaining how to do this. If not, try typing the router’s model number into Google.
Quick Tip: A safe password should be at least 15 characters long and use a random mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. You can use a password manager such as Dashlane to store all of your passwords, so you won’t have to worry about remembering your router’s password.
Download a Secure Antivirus Program
There are a ton of antivirus packages on the market. However, there are only a few that are truly excellent, providing all of the security protections that you need to stay safe online. You can check out 2021’s best antivirus packages here.
I really like Norton 360 — it’s a premium antivirus suite with one of the best anti-malware engines in the world, along with a ton of useful security protections. Norton’s antivirus scanner uses artificial intelligence, advanced heuristics, and a massive malware database to keep malware off of your device.
Norton also includes:
- Anti-phishing protection — Flags suspicious websites and protects you from online scammers.
- Firewall — Blocks hackers from entering your network.
- Virtual private network (VPN) — Keeps your internet usage anonymous, preventing network attacks, web surveillance, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
- Parental controls — Protects children by using content filters, app and screen time schedules, YouTube monitoring, and even location tracking.
- System cleanup — Gets rid of junk files and increases system performance.
- Password manager — Stores, generates, and auto-fills passwords, so hackers can’t steal them.
- Identity theft protection (US only) — Monitors credit reports, the dark web, and breach databases for compromised accounts, and includes a $1 million insurance policy.
Frequently Asked Questions about the COM Surrogate Virus
- Can I disable COM Surrogate?
- Why does COM Surrogate keep crashing?
- Where is COM Surrogate located?
- Why is the COM Surrogate virus dangerous?
Can I disable COM Surrogate?
You can’t disable COM Surrogate. It’s a core system function within Windows that will be called upon every time an application requests it.
I actually tested this by opening the Task Manager on my computer and clicking “End Task” on every instance of COM Surrogate. I then opened a folder in File Explorer and switched to Thumbnail View. As soon as I did this, COM Surrogate once again appeared on my task list.
This is normal, and it shouldn’t be interfered with. COM Surrogate is a part of dllhost.exe’s function and a required Windows background process.
If in doubt, follow this guide on how to remove malicious instances of COM Surrogate.
Why does COM Surrogate keep crashing?
It’s totally normal for COM Surrogate to crash occasionally. COM Surrogate is a sacrificial process. In fact, surrogate means to “act in another’s place”.
For example, when you open a folder and switch to Thumbnail View, Windows fires a COM Surrogate to draw those thumbnails within File Explorer. If, for whatever reason, this process crashes, instead of having the entirety of File Explorer crash, only COM Surrogate will crash.
In other words, COM Surrogate crashing is a form of protection.
That being said, consistent crashes or system slow-downs may be the symptom of something more serious. Should COM Surrogate crash frequently, follow the above steps. Your computer may be infected.
Where is COM Surrogate located?
COM Surrogate is an internal process that is initiated by dllhost.exe — which is located in your System32 folder*.
COM Surrogate itself isn’t something you can find in your system files. Therefore, if you do come across “COMSurrogate.exe” or anything similar, your computer is probably infected with malware and you should check out the rest of my instructions for how to remove it.
*For the less tech-savvy users, the System32 folder is where Window’s most important .EXE and .DLL files are located. If you were to delete System32, Windows would no longer function.
Why is the COM Surrogate virus dangerous?
The COM Surrogate virus is dangerous because it can open a backdoor into your system. Hackers can use that backdoor to break into your computer and steal sensitive information. This can include:
- Email addresses
- Bank account details
- Credit card information
The hacker will even be able to use the backdoor to download more malware onto your system. Trojans can also be used to hijack your operating system for botnets and cryptojacking malware. That’s why it’s imperative that you remove all instances of the COM Surrogate virus, and any other malware that may have infected your system. If you don’t know how to remove a virus from your PC, then check out the rest of my guide for removing COM Surrogate from your computer.