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 shell32.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.
Description: Shell32.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Shell32.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\.
Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 201,369 bytes (50% of all occurrences) or 201,374 bytes.
There is no description of the program. The program has no visible window. The file is not a Windows core file. Shell32.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs, monitor applications and manipulate other programs. Therefore the technical security rating is 56% dangerous; however you should also read the user reviews.
Recommended: Identify shell32.exe related errors
If shell32.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files", the security rating is 60% dangerous. The file size is 1,262,080 bytes. The program has no visible window. The process starts when Windows starts (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, Run). Shell32.exe is not a Windows system file. shell32.exe appears to be a compressed file.
If shell32.exe is located in a subfolder of the user's profile folder, the security rating is 100% dangerous. The file size is 1,262,080 bytes. The program is not visible. Some people think it is dangerous. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, Run). The shell32.exe file is not a Windows core file. shell32.exe appears to be a compressed file.
If shell32.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, the security rating is 36% dangerous. The file size is 169,001 bytes.
External information from Paul Collins:
There are different files with the same name:
Important: Some malware also uses the file name shell32.exe, for example TROJ_SPNR.11I612 or WORM_VB.IYA (detected by TrendMicro), and Trojan.Win32.Genome.agivh or Trojan.Win32.AutoHK.m (detected by Kaspersky). Therefore, you should check the shell32.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.
A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with shell32. 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 shell32.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.