What is HWAPI.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 HWAPI.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 HWAPI.exe related errors

HWAPI.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with HWAPI
HWAPI.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as McAfee HackerWatch Service belongs to software McAfee HackerWatch Service or McAfee Hackerwatch API Module by McAfee (

Description: HWAPI.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. HWAPI.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files\Common Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 540,776 bytes (78% of all occurrences) or 554,600 bytes. 
The program has no visible window. The HWAPI.exe file is not a Windows system file. It is a Verisign signed file. It is digitally signed. HWAPI.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 22% dangerous; however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: If you are having problems with HWAPI.exe, you can do the following:
  1) uninstall McAfee Hackerwatch API Module software via Windows Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows 10/8/7)
  2) contact Customer Service.

Recommended: Identify HWAPI.exe related errors

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

McAfee Hacker Watch Service. Service installed by the McAfee Internet Security suite whose role is to update the website with any suspected hacker attack which you decide to report to the HackerWatch service run by McAfee.
  Sam   (further information)

Summary: Average user rating of HWAPI.exe: based on 1 vote with 1 user comment. One user thinks HWAPI.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application.

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Best practices for resolving HWAPI issues

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

HWAPI.exe [all]