What is debug.exe?

The genuine 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 .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the debug.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for debug.exe related errors

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

Important: Some malware also uses the file name debug.exe, for example Trojan:Win32/Ertfor.D or Trojan:Win32/Delfsnif (detected by Microsoft), and Downloader.Ertfor or Trojan Horse (detected by Symantec). Therefore, 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

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with debug. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic 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 6resmon 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 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the debug.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

debug.exe [all]