What is msdt.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 msdt.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 msdt.exe related errors

Msdt.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with msdt
Msdt.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Diagnostics Troubleshooting Wizard belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System by Microsoft (

Description: The original msdt.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Msdt.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder or sometimes in a subfolder of C:\Windows. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 983,040 bytes (60% of all occurrences), 981,504 bytes, 955,904 bytes, 985,600 bytes or 1,508,864 bytes. 
The file is a Windows core system file. The program has a visible window. The msdt.exe file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. Msdt.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 0% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify msdt.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is msdt.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true msdt.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Diagnostics Troubleshooting Wizard". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are for instance Trojan:Win64/Ropest.G (detected by Microsoft), and TROJ_GEN.R08NC0DAR15 (detected by TrendMicro).
To ensure that no rogue msdt.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants? If msdt.exe is located in a subfolder of the user's profile folder, the security rating is 84% dangerous. The file size is 143,872 bytes. The software has no file description. The program has no visible window. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: RunOnce, User Shell Folders, Run). It is not a Windows core file. Msdt.exe is able to monitor applications and manipulate other programs.

Important: Some malware disguises itself as msdt.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the msdt.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 appears as an update from an unknown publisher, doesn't Microsoft know its own software?
  phil stilliard  
Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool
  Marc Monteron   (further information)

Summary: Average user rating of msdt.exe: based on 5 votes with 3 user comments. 3 users think msdt.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. One user is not sure about it.

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Best practices for resolving msdt issues

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

msdt.exe [all]