What is smss.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 smss.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.

Click to Run a Free Scan for smss.exe related errors

Smss.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with smss
Smss.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Windows NT Session Manager or Windows Session Manager or File Loader or Freeware Promotion or Windows NT-Sitzungs-Manager or TODO: File description or Live Update (version 64 bit) or Administrador de sesión de Windows

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Loader or @DVVAR (version p0dmen@) or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows or setup(beastmode) or TODO: Product name or Live Update (version 64 bit) or Server

by Microsoft ( or Black Internet or PROMO Software or Symt64bit or TODO: Company name or Que's C++ Studio or Moga or Microso.

Description: The original smss.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. The file smss.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 50,688 bytes (78% of all occurrences), 69,632 bytes and 10 more variants. 
The program has no visible window. The smss.exe file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. Therefore the technical security rating is 5% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify smss.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is smss.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true smss.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Windows NT Session Manager". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are e.g. Trojan-Spy.Win32.Agent.baow or Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Agent.fbfs (detected by Kaspersky), and Generic.dx!wnh (detected by McAfee).
To ensure that no rogue smss.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

External information from Paul Collins:
There are different files with the same name:

Important: Some malware disguises itself as smss.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the smss.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

is a system start up file
When closing this, it gave me the warning that if I ended this process, my OS would shut down (Win7). After scanning it with 3 Antivirus, it seems safe
Only shows up in Security Manager as a pop up only, not on list. On pop up, system freeze, unable to obtain add'l info. This happened 3 times, you know it's not good. Plus on my pop up it states si in the top upper portion of the pop up for smss.exe.
Came up dangerous for "Dr web" with a occasional message that takes a few clicks to, rid off.I have located the file, scan it, and "no threats detected"
It's System File and also someone used its name for virus. Look its properties by clicking right properties. If it signed by Microsoft it isn't a virus. But if it isn't signed by Microsoft, it is a virus
If you're running x64 windows it will show as smss.exe*32 in the task manager and thats a virus the system process Does not have the *32 and btw you can open the file location if it leads to anywhere but the system32 file it's a virus
Its safe :) Windows process :D
Not dangerous, its an important file.
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of smss.exe: based on 319 votes with 9 reviews. 103 users think smss.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 19 users think it's probably harmless. 58 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 35 users suspect danger. 104 users think smss.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 32 users don't grade smss.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving smss issues

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

smss.exe [all]