What is PCTAV.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 PCTAV.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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PCTAV.exe file information

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

The process known as PC Tools AntiVirus Client belongs to software PC Tools AntiVirus Client or PC Tools AntiVirus by PC Tools Research Pty (

Description: PCTAV.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. The file PCTAV.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 1,238,928 bytes (55% of all occurrences), 1,505,168 bytes, 1,082,664 bytes or 1,374,096 bytes. 
The file is not a Windows system file. The file is a Verisign signed file. The file has a digital signature. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run). PCTAV.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs, hide itself and manipulate other programs. Therefore the technical security rating is 13% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: There is a possibility to uninstall the software PC Tools AntiVirus using the Uninstall a Program function of Windows Control Panel (Windows: Start, Settings, Control Panel, Uninstall a Program).

Recommended: Identify PCTAV.exe related errors

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as PCTAV.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the PCTAV.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's a free editin of an anti virus program, less features then the bought version, but still reliable considering it's free
  MxBadBoy   (further information)
PCTAV.EXE is the executable process supplied with PC Tools Antivirus Program. PCTAV.EXE is installed in the Program Files Directory by default.
  W. Clausen MCSE, MCSA A+N+   (further information)

Summary: Average user rating of PCTAV.exe: based on 3 votes with 2 user comments. 3 users think PCTAV.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application.

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Best practices for resolving PCTAV issues

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

PCTAV.exe [all]