What is mssearch.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 mssearch.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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Mssearch.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with mssearch
Mssearch.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Microsoft PKM Search Service belongs to software PKM or Reporting Agents by Microsoft (

Description: Mssearch.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. The mssearch.exe file is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files\Common Files" or sometimes in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files" (mostly C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSSearch\Bin\ or C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSSearch\Bin\). Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 69,632 bytes (87% of all occurrences) or 73,728 bytes. 
There is no file information. The program has no visible window. Mssearch.exe is not a Windows core file. Mssearch.exe is able to hide itself. Therefore the technical security rating is 50% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify mssearch.exe related errors

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

mssearch.exe is a process relating to Microsoft Windows Server suite, which is responsible for the cataloguing of indexes for Exchange server and SQL server.
  vivek Thacker   (further information)
Its a required Microsoft Service. Do not delete. Not a malware or spyware.
mssearch.exe can either be the aforementioned process by Microsoft, or it is malware indeed. Check whether Windows Search is installed, if yes, than uninstall it clearing all indexes with it and check again if process mssearch.exe is running. If yes again, it's certainly malware and running folder should be something like c:\windows\temp\ghtsrvc\. Refer to Antivirus solutions to solve this issue.
This file is important to Microsoft SQL Server. It is not malware, spyware or a virus.
Installed as part of MS SharePoint Portal
  Red Baron  
SQL SQL SQL. If you run SQL server, leave it !!
Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server Search. If you are running a server with MOSS (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007) the executable for the search engine is mssearch.exe. I see two of these in my Task Manager.
  Jean-Pierre Fouche  
This is the Microsoft SQL Server component for Full Text indexing. If you have SQL Server installed then you can expect to see it, otherwise it _may_ be malware
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of mssearch.exe: based on 21 votes with 9 reviews. 12 users think mssearch.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. 3 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 2 users suspect danger. 2 users think mssearch.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 2 users don't grade mssearch.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving mssearch issues

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

mssearch.exe [all]