How to remove the debug virus

Most antivirus programs identify debug.exe as malware—for example Microsoft identifies it as Trojan:Win32/Ertfor.D or Trojan:Win32/Delfsnif, and Symantec identifies it as Downloader.Ertfor or Trojan Horse.

The debug.exe file is a software component of Microsoft Windows Operating System by Microsoft.
A command line executable, the Microsoft debugger is utilized to analyze and adjust certain files. It is used primarily to determine if a program is functioning as it should, by reviewing memory or hex dumps of the file. This application will only function in DOS or 32 bit versions of Windows. Founded in 1975 in New Mexico, Microsoft is now one of the largest software corporations in the world. Currently headquartered in Washington, the flagship Windows operation system is the most utilized OS in the world.

Debug stands for Debugger

The free file information forum can help you find out how to remove it. If you have additional information about this file, please leave a comment or a suggestion for other users.

Click to Run a Free Virus Scan for the debug.exe malware

Debug.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with debug
Debug.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as PE Explorer or System Service belongs to software PE Explorer by Microsoft ( or Heaventools Software (

Description: Debug.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Debug.exe is located in the C:\Windows folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 55,300 bytes (50% of all occurrences) or 21,716 bytes. 
There is no file information. The program is not visible. The file is located in the Windows folder, but it is not a Windows core file. The program is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, Run, DEFAULT\Run). It is not a Windows core file. Debug.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 86% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify debug.exe related errors

If debug.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows, the security rating is 60% dangerous. The file size is 38,916 bytes. The program is not visible. Debug.exe is located in the Windows folder, but it is not a Windows core file. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, Run, DEFAULT\Run). The file is not a Windows core file. Debug.exe is able to monitor applications.

Important: You should check the debug.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

it is virus
it can be used to make 16-bit DOS applacations to use with command prompt
debug.exe is Windows utility for debugging.
  John   (further information)
Debugger for programs
  Johan   (further information)
It is suspicious as it has a BLUE colored name. Just be careful.

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of debug.exe: based on 7 votes with 5 user comments. 3 users think debug.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. One user thinks it's probably harmless. One user thinks it's neither essential nor dangerous. One user suspects danger. One user thinks debug.exe is dangerous and recommends removing it.

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Best practices for resolving debug issues

The following programs have also been shown useful for a deeper analysis: Security Task Manager examines the active debug process on your computer and clearly tells you what it is doing. Malwarebytes' well-known anti-malware tool tells you if the debug.exe on your computer displays annoying ads, slowing it down. This type of unwanted adware program is not considered by some antivirus software to be a virus and is therefore not marked for cleanup.

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding PC trouble. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

Other processes

debug.exe [all]