What is IKernel.exe?

The genuine IKernel.exe file is a software component of InstallShield by Flexera Software.
The "Ikernel.exe" process is still used by InstallShield software as the engine that applies the developer's InstallScript instructions to perform software installations from single-file ".exe" packages. "Ikernel.exe" has often caused error messages that it will not launch when attempting to install a product with InstallShield. This is sometimes due to the IKernel.exe file remaining in memory a short time after a prior install; it may also be due to one or more of three core Windows ".TLB" files, (stdole32.tlb, stdole2.tlb, or stdole.tlb), being missing from "C:\Windows\System32." That was only mentioned for Windows XP and may not be true for Win7/8/8.1. Flexera Software is an American company headquartered in Chicago, IL, originally formed as Acresso in 2008 (and renamed to Flexera in 2009) when Macrovision, (now Rovi), sold its software division to an investment fund. It provides application producers and enterprises with tools to construct software installation packages and monitor software licensing compliance. It is still backed by private equity although the majority interest is now owned by a division of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

IKernel stands for InstallShield® Setup Engine Kernel

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 IKernel.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 IKernel.exe related errors

IKernel.exe file information

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

The process known as InstallShield® Setup Engine belongs to software InstallShield by InstallShield Software (

Description: IKernel.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. The IKernel.exe file is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files\Common Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 614,532 bytes (70% of all occurrences), 610,436 bytes or 602,244 bytes. 
The IKernel.exe file is not a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. Therefore the technical security rating is 41% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify IKernel.exe related errors

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

Install shield component
It is related to ATI's software
process that runs the installshield. needed run in order for during the installion of a program using installshield
It's the IntallShield engine
  Mohamed Benhacine  
The InstallShield Engine (IKernel.exe) could be installed
it was launched when installing an app. block internet acces not needed
for my sims game
I have tracked it and I've found it not on windows directories. Anyway I decided to delete to prevent. This process "IKernel.exe" have been launched when I installed CuteFTP. (Maybe Installshield original component). If Installshield stops working normal, I know why. (lol)
Its used to run the program which lets you install programs. Its safe.
used when install/uninstall EA games
it is part of ATI's driver install I found it on version 8-9_xp32_dd_ccc_wdm_enu_68898 of the ATI drivers and it tries to go to the internet all of the time so I shut it down with Zone Alarm
this is part of windows installer, it is used for installing windows updates
Install Shield Component
  Peer Plaut  
I think it's With ATI driver. when you connect to the internet. it'll start automaticaly. and to resolve somhow is unchecking "Allow Web content" im main menu of ATI menu.
Asus SixEngine Installation
Not related to any specific program or operating system. Engine behind anything Installshield installs on PC, which could be anything from games to drivers to viruses even. Developer's choice.
  Righton   (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of IKernel.exe: based on 23 votes with 17 user comments. 12 users think IKernel.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 8 users think it's probably harmless. 3 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 2 users don't grade IKernel.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving IKernel issues

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

IKernel.exe [all]