Most antivirus programs identify netmsg.exe as malware—such as Kaspersky identifies it as Trojan.Win32.Agent.ye, and Avast identifies it as Win32:Rootkit-gen [Rtk].
The netmsg.exe file is a software component of Net Message Service by AT&T.
"netmsg.exe" is a file that is the main executable in Windows for the Net Message Service by AT&T. It handles the sending of messages through the network to other PCs by way of Windows Messenger. It basically provides a means to send messages to other users on networked PCs and those users do not need additional messaging software to receive them, simply because "netmsg.exe" uses Windows Messenger to process the transmission. The file sends the message to PC(s) and displays the notification over all open windows so that the user cannot ignore the message. It can be used for one-way user communications, but is also used to display ads. AT&T started in 1983 as Southwestern Bell Corporation, providing landline services in the United States. Since then, they have evolved into providing mobile cellular services and cable/broadband services.
netmsg stands for net message
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The file does not contain indication of the product name or copyright holder. In Windows Task Manager, it appears simply as netmsg.exe.
Description: Netmsg.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. The netmsg.exe file is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 221,184 bytes (50% of all occurrences), 114,688 bytes or 135,168 bytes.
There is no file information. The program has no visible window. Netmsg.exe is located in the Windows folder, but it is not a Windows core file. Netmsg.exe is not a Windows core file. The software uses ports to connect to or from a LAN or the Internet. Therefore the technical security rating is 85% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.
Recommended: Identify netmsg.exe related errors
If netmsg.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows, the security rating is 72% dangerous. The file size is 253,952 bytes. The software has no file description. The netmsg.exe file is an unknown file in the Windows folder. The program is not visible. Netmsg.exe is not a Windows core file.
External information from Paul Collins:
Important: You should check the netmsg.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.
The following programs have also been shown useful for a deeper analysis: ASecurity Task Manager examines the active netmsg process on your computer and clearly tells you what it is doing. Malwarebytes' well-known Banti-malware tool tells you if the netmsg.exe on your computer displays annoying ads, slowing it down. This type of unwanted adware program is not considered by some antivirus software to be a virus and is therefore not marked for cleanup.
A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding PC trouble. 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.