What is hl2.exe?

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 hl2.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.

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Hl2.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with hl2
Hl2.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process belongs to software Crysis 2 Maximum Edition or Terraria or Steam or Source SDK Base (version 2007) or Empire: Total War by Valve (

Description: Hl2.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. Hl2.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 98,304 bytes (40% of all occurrences), 120,912 bytes and 5 more variants. 
There is no information about the author of the file. The hl2.exe file is not a Windows core file. Therefore the technical security rating is 40% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: The software publisher Steampowered provides direct support ( You could remove the entire program Steam or Terraria using Windows Control Panel.

Recommended: Identify hl2.exe related errors

If hl2.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\, the security rating is 32% dangerous. The file size is 103,792 bytes. You can uninstall this program in the Control Panel. There is no information about the author of the file. The program has no visible window. The file has a digital signature. The file is not a Windows system file.

Uninstalling this variant: The software publisher Valve provides update information ( You could remove the entire program v73 using Windows Control Panel.

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as hl2.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the hl2.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

This is just a harmless game!
  Ben Nelmes  
A game launched by yourself through Steam, or otherwise.
  Michael Monzon   (further information)
It's a game called Half-Life that you put on your computer. Get a clue.
    (further information)
hl2.exe is needed in order to play the game Counter Strike Source
  Simon Raymundo  
its a game
  cameron brittig  
hl2.exe stands for half-life 2...a foundation for most steam powered games. theres no harm in it as long as u actualy HAV a Steam Powered game
runs the game Half-Life 2 and other source engine based games
HL2.exe is the Half Life 2 engine main program. It is the core file for all source games, some of these games are: Half Life 2, Half Life 2 episode 1, Half Life 2 episode 2, Half Life 2 lost coast, Half life 2 deathmatch, Half Life: source, Couterstrike: source, Portal, Team Fortress 2, possibly more
well mine is giing an error it sais that it has stopped working, can someone please help me.
"Source" engine based game. Totally harmless
  Chris   (further information)
its always comes up after i exit tf2 on steam. its to do with the source engine
i cant play garrys mod but i can play cs:s and other hl2 games but not garrys mod
  joe biden  
it is necessary to run games with the source engine and it often stops working for no reason and ruins a gaming experience.
needed to run source based games
when i try to launch CSS, it comes up "hl2.exe has a problem", what does hl2 have to do with CSS?? and what should i do?
Used to launch steam based games
  Nobody in particular  
The standard launch process for the Valve Source Engine, games which run are this are counterstrike,hl2,garrysmod and many more. completely safe if you get the game from steampowered
  Ryan Conway  
hl2.exe is game engine not game... error is due to bad blob and such files.
Needed to run source games. Steam will recreate it if you delete it or something. It's Completely harmless as everyone is saying it's essential to most source games except Left4dead alls it is a launcher,
It's the core application for all games running off the Source SDK.
It's for Source games, derp derp derp.
  PirateGuy   (further information)
Valve's "Source" engine, needed for all of their games since Half-Life 2.
  Nanashi   (further information)
ok can you guys help me when i play counter strike source hl2.exe stops working everytime i have high ping whenever i play and hl2.exe always stops working when i play can you guys help me please
Its a game engine.
you need it to open portal
It's a gma engine, whats the fuss
  ImmortalScientist   (further information)
it means youre running any steam game, it may say hl2, but it could mean youre running counterstrike
It is for almost every game that Valve makes. DUH!
Short for "Half Life 2" A game which runs on source engine. Any other games running on source engine will come up as HL2.exe aswell.
It is the action game Half Life 2
  MNKYband   (further information)
It's basically the main engine for most Valve games. If you have installed a Valve game on your PC, keep it, if not, delete it.
  Jesse Tustin  
The Source game engine. Safe if you have any Valve game, except for L4D
The Source engine.
  The G-Man  
It's used for Valve's Source Engine which is needed to play games like TF2, CS Source, Garry's Mod, L4D2, etc.
It is needed for games which use a Half Life 2 engine!hl2.exe
The main launcher for all Source Engine MP games, like TF2, CS:S, DoD:S, HL2, GMOD, HL2:DM.
It is the valve source game engine. The name stands for Half Life 2, the first source game
It's the Half-Life 2 Game Engine; it is used by various games and has nothing to do with "errors." If you don't want it, simply uninstall all Source-based games, although I can assure you it is harmless. Also, malware can disguise itself as anything, so that claim is meaningless.
It is a Game engiene
That process is for e.g. Team Fortress 2 or Portal!!
i have teamfortress 2, also from valve, but its under file name Hl2.exe is that normal.
It is good
  Bob Derfl  
It is the main engine for many valve games such as Half Life, Portal, Team Fortress 2 and more.
    (further information)
It is the base for any games made using the Valve Source Engine. It appears in the system processes when running a Source Engine Game such as Team Fortress 2, Garry's Mod, Counter Strike or Half Life. Terminating this process will cause the the game to immediately close. Closing the game will terminate the process.
  Avid Task Manager.  
Its a process that runs all the necessary files for the game to keep on working.
  Jamie Stivala  
Hl2.exe is the source engine for many steam games including but not limited to: Half life 2, Half life 2 ep 1, portal, team fortress 2, and Garry's mod. It should however only be on your system if you installed a game with the valve's Source engine. If not, it is most likely a virus and should scanned and removed immediatley
  Anonymous   (further information)
hl2.exe was never a virus. Also, the link to Valve's website is incorrect. It's not
  The Combine   (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of hl2.exe: based on 48 votes with 47 user comments. 26 users think hl2.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 3 users think it's probably harmless. 18 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. One user suspects danger. 7 users don't grade hl2.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving hl2 issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with hl2. 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.

To help you analyze the hl2.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security 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. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

hl2.exe [all]