What is kernel.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 kernel.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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Kernel.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with kernel
Kernel.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Project2 belongs to software Error by Microsoft (

Description: Kernel.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. The file kernel.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 540,762 bytes (18% of all occurrences), 1,234,320 bytes and 7 more variants. 
The kernel.exe file is not a Windows system file. The program is not visible. Kernel.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 35% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: You can also do the following:

Recommended: Identify kernel.exe related errors

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as kernel.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder, for example PWS:Win32/VB.CX (detected by Microsoft), and Infostealer.Saluni (detected by Symantec). Therefore, you should check the kernel.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

Braucht man, wenn man die T-online Software benutzt. Bekommt man automatisch als T-Online-Kunde.
  Sebastian Schmidt  
Wer über den T-Online Startcenter geht, braucht diesen Prozess, da der dafür zuständig is.
  Sebastian Schmidt  
wenn im security Taskmanager angezeigt & als T-Online 5.0 Software identifiziert, gibt es keine probleme mit kernel.exe
Der "Kernel" ist absolut notwendig für Windows! Er ist nach dem Bootloader der 2. Prozess, der nach dem Starten des Computers gestartet wird und MUSS andere Prozesse überwachen und steuern können! Der Kernel führt mit hilfe der API die Befehle von Programmen aus, regelt Datenströme und ermöglicht das Zusammenspiel von Treibern und anderer Software
  KE11A - Susi  
delete asap - As soon as my computer booted it would run and cause my GPU to go to 100% load and the temperature of the gpu would rocket very high ( for me it went to 82 degrees C at 100% fan speed)
Lags Pc severly, starts itself up without reason and can't get it away.

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of kernel.exe: based on 6 votes with 6 user comments. 3 users think kernel.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. One user thinks it's probably harmless. 2 users think kernel.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. One user is not sure about it.

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Best practices for resolving kernel issues

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

kernel.exe [all]