Updated on: September 24, 2023
Short on time? Here’s how to remove the CSRSS.exe virus:
- 1. Check If CSRSS.exe Is Malicious. The genuine CSRSS.exe application should be located in your System32 folder. If it’s not there, then it’s malicious.
- 2. Scan Your PC. Using a high-quality antivirus like Norton, complete a full disk scan of your computer.
- 3. Remove the CSRSS.exe Virus. Once the scan is done, allow your antivirus to remove every instance of malware from your PC.
- 4. Keep Your PC Protected. Stay safe from further infections by choosing a quality internet security suite to protect you online. Norton is my favorite, thanks to its advanced malware scanning, perfect detection rates, and great extra features like an unlimited VPN, password manager, dark web monitoring, and much more. All Norton plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
The Client Service Runtime Process (CSRSS.exe) is an essential Windows process. It controls many critical functions on your operating system, including the Windows console and the PC shutdown procedure. If you remove CSRSS.exe, Windows will not be able to function.
Many users think CSRSS.exe is malware because they see multiple instances of CSRSS.exe running in their Task Manager, but that’s totally normal — Windows runs multiple versions of processes like CSRSS.exe simultaneously for separate tasks.
However, malware files sometimes name themselves CSRSS.exe to avoid detection on your system. If you suspect this is the case, you can perform several checks to ensure your version of CSRSS.exe is genuine. After you’ve completed these checks, you should scan your PC using a secure antivirus program to confirm there’s no malware on your PC.
Norton is the best tool for getting rid of the CSRSS.exe virus and any other malware that might be lurking on your PC. Its plans start at a very affordable $54.99 / year, and all purchases come with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Preliminary Step — Check if CSRSS.exe Is Malicious
The most reliable way to confirm whether CSRSS.exe is malicious or not is to check its file location. The genuine CSRSS.exe application will be located in your System32 folder (C:WindowsSystem32). If the file is found anywhere else, it’s a malicious version of the application, and it needs to be removed with your antivirus.
You can easily see where the version of CSRSS.exe running on your machine is located by bringing up your Task Manager (CTRL+Shift+ESC), right-clicking on the CSRSS.exe process, and clicking Open file location. If CSRSS.exe is legitimate, Windows will open your System32 folder.
If you’re taken to a location that’s not your System32 folder, you need to delete the disguised CSRSS.exe file by following our steps below. It’s important you don’t delete the file manually as you don’t know what it’s doing to your PC. Manually deleting the file could damage your system.
Step 1. Identify CSRSS.exe With Your Antivirus
Important: Unplug any non-critical devices (especially removable storage devices) from your USB slots before proceeding with this step. Some malware can replicate itself, and it may use these devices to reinfect you or spread to other computers.
The full antivirus scan will go through every file and process on your PC and quarantine any harmful files. You must let the scan run through to completion. Don’t cancel it if you see CSRSS.exe (or any other files) appear on the infected file list, as it may not be the only instance of the virus. Wait for the scan to complete before moving on to step 2.
Step 2. Remove the CSRSS.exe Infection and Delete Any Other Infected Files
When the virus scan is complete, your antivirus will display a list of all infected files in a quarantine folder. Carefully go through this list and remove any virus threats. Be careful not to remove false positives (safe files that your antivirus has mistakenly flagged as malicious). It’s a good idea to contact your antivirus customer support team if you want help identifying unsafe files in your quarantine folder.
After you’ve gone through every quarantined file and removed any malware from your disk, restart your computer. Then, run a second full disk scan to ensure any infections stored in Windows memory are no longer active. The second full disk scan won’t take as long as the first. Many antiviruses (including Norton) recognize recently scanned files. It’s a good idea to run this scan as soon as your PC has restarted. If you’re still seeing threats appear in the infected file list after the second scan, you need to repeat steps 1 and 2 until you can scan your computer without seeing any threats.
When the infected file list is empty, you can move on to step 3.
Step 3. Keep Your Device Protected
It’s really easy for your system to get infected with malware. Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to compromise your device in 2023, so you must have the proper protections in place. Here’s what you can do to prevent yourself from getting re-infected.
Keep Your Software, OS, and Drivers Up-To-Date
When cybercriminals find ways to exploit software, operating systems, and computer drivers, developers issue patches to close these exploits. Downloading software updates offers the best protection against exploit attacks.
Many applications come with an auto-update feature, which is the easiest way to keep your programs up-to-date.
Using a vulnerability scanner is another good way to keep everything on your computer up to date. TotalAV includes a powerful vulnerability scanner that can detect any outdated software and download necessary patches for you.
However, there are a few other ways of checking for updates. Look in your Windows Update settings to see if there are any OS updates available. Here you will see both optional and essential updates. We recommend you download and install both as they contain critical security fixes.
Don’t Download Suspicious Files
If you have malware on your computer, it most likely infected you after you downloaded a suspicious file. Cybercriminals bundle malware with downloads from untrustworthy websites (usually freeware or pirated content sites).In addition to having an antivirus with real-time protection active, you should avoid downloading files from websites you don’t trust.
You should also be careful when opening emails — email is the most common way to spread malware in 2023. Don’t open attachments from senders you don’t know, and if a trustworthy business or person sends you an attachment, ask them if they meant to send it before opening it. Many cybercriminals disguise themselves as businesses or people you trust to trick you into downloading malware (or sharing your personal information).
As said, the best way to stay protected is to have real-time protection running. Norton has excellent real-time protection that actively scans files you attempt to download. It will intercept any malware it finds before it can damage your PC.
Secure Your Wireless Network and IoT Devices
Your wireless network and internet of things (IoT) devices are an often overlooked way that hackers can spread malware. You need to ensure that both of these are protected.
Look at the wireless network list on your Windows taskbar to see if your wireless network is secure. On Windows 11, there will be a padlock symbol over a secured Wi-Fi connection. Older versions of Windows won’t show a padlock but will instead display “Secured” underneath a secured network.
An unsecured wireless network will show a warning like below:
If your home network is unsecured, you need to log in to your router to secure it. You can do this by typing your router’s IP address into the search box of your web browser. The default IP address is 192.168.0.1, but you should check your router’s manual or call their customer support team for specific instructions.
Once you’re in, you can enter a password. We recommend using Dashlane to create a super-secure password that includes numbers, letters, and symbols. These are difficult for hackers to break into.
You next need to secure your IoT devices. IoT devices include:
- Doorbell cams.
- Home CCTV.
- Smart speakers.
- Smart door locks.
If you don’t need a password to access these, hackers won’t either, and they’ll be able to take control of your home systems easily. To find out how to secure your particular IoT device behind a password, read the manual or look up the IoT device’s model number online. Once you know how to create a password for your IoT device, we again recommend using a secure password manager to generate a password that’s tough for hackers to crack.
Download a Secure Antivirus Program
The best way to protect your computer is to get a secure antivirus program. My go-to antivirus program is Norton because it uses advanced heuristics and AI to keep your PC safe.
Norton also comes with:
- Real-time scanner. Scans your PC in real-time and prevents any malicious files from causing damage.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN). Disguises your actual location to safeguard your data from tracking attempts. Additionally, it grants you the ability to access content that is geographically restricted.
- Parental controls. Includes various protections to keep your kids safe online — including content filters and screen-time monitoring.
- ID Protection (US only). Monitors your credit report and alerts you to any changes.
- Cloud backup. This feature lets you save essential files on Norton’s cloud, providing protection against ransomware threats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CSRSS.exe a virus?
CSRSS.exe isn’t a virus. It’s a critical process used by Windows to control various elements of your operating system.
Sometimes hackers may disguise malware as CSRSS.exe, but you can quickly check if your version is genuine. If you’re not running a genuine version of CSRSS.exe, you need to follow our steps to remove CSRSS.exe using a secure antivirus program like Norton.
Can I end CSRSS.exe process?
No, you can’t end the CSRSS.exe process. If you try to end CSRSS.exe in the Windows Task Manager, Windows will display a message asking you if you want to shut down your PC. This is because Windows can’t run without CSRSS.exe. However, if you think CSRSS.exe is a virus, you can check whether it’s genuine or not from the Task Manager.
Why is CSRSS.exe running twice?
CSRSS.exe controls several features on your Windows PC, so it runs a separate instance for every job it’s doing on your computer. In other words, it’s perfectly normal to see CSRSS.exe running more than once.
However, you can follow our guide to check each instance of CSRSS.exe if you’re worried you have a virus. If it turns out you do, you can use a secure antivirus like Norton to scan your PC for any infections.
Is CSRSS.exe needed?
Yes, CSRSS.exe is needed. Without it, Windows won’t be able to operate, and your PC will shut down. If you force delete CSRSS.exe, your computer will show a blue screen of death (BSOD) when you try to boot.
You should never delete CSRSS.exe. If you suspect it may be a fake version made by hackers, you need to investigate further to see if your version of CSRSS.exe is legit. If you do have a fake version of CSRSS.exe, you should use a virus scanner like Norton to remove it.