What is shellmon.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 shellmon.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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Shellmon.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with shellmon
Shellmon.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as waolmon or setupdb belongs to software AOL or waol or America Online by AOL ( or America Online (

Description: Shellmon.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Shellmon.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files" or sometimes in a subfolder of C:\—e.g. C:\Program Files\America Online 9.0\. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 54,624 bytes (28% of all occurrences), 54,568 bytes and 13 more variants. 
The program is not visible. It is not a Windows core file. The file is a Verisign signed file. Shellmon.exe is certified by a trustworthy company. There is no information about the author of the file. Shellmon.exe is able to monitor applications and hide itself. Therefore the technical security rating is 30% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: If problems with America Online come up, you can uninstall it from your computer using the Control Panel applet Uninstall a Program, visit the support page or check if there is a newer version available.

Recommended: Identify shellmon.exe related errors

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as shellmon.exe. Therefore, you should check the shellmon.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

shellmon.exe is an application from AOL which belongs to the Eolithic Task. It is installed with AOL version 8 and later. This program is a non-essential process, but should not be terminated unless suspected to be causing problems.
part of AOL
  DC the MCSE  
If infected can create havok by opening webpages on its own.
  Casey McCune  
emerges or pops up in rectangle about once every 12 startups with HP product
It always opens on my computer and I can't get rid of it.
  Sara Villaro  
All I know is when I turned my computer off the other night, there was absolutely no sign of any program running, but before windows would shut down it said "ending program shellmon" then after it ended that, my computer shut down as I wanted it to. So I don't know if that's a bad thing or not? Can anyone tell me?
  Young Ma  
when my computer is slow loading sites, it is the culprit
When I go to shut down, it says ending shellmon.exe?
shellmon.exe Can be shutoff if you first turnoff the aolware.exe process, then shutoff shellmon.exe process. Otherwise shellmon will keep returning to the process list immediately even if you try to shut off the entire process tree.
  ca Collister  
not much except it is denied when you call aol
AOL Desktop seems to run better without it IMHO. Either remove it in safe mode or rename the file and kill it in task manager.

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of shellmon.exe: based on 9 votes with 12 user comments. One user thinks shellmon.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 3 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 4 users suspect danger. One user thinks shellmon.exe is dangerous and recommends removing it. 5 users don't grade shellmon.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving shellmon issues

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

shellmon.exe [all]