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 Session Manager Subsystem or (xpclient.010817-11489) or File Loader or Freeware Promotion or Windows NT-Sitzungs-Manager or Live Update (version 64 bit)

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Loader or @DVVAR (version p0dmen@) or LMOY or Windows Media Format Runtime or Card Adapter or Live Update (version 64 bit) or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows

by Microsoft ( or Microsoft Windows Operation System or Black Internet or LMOY or PROMO Software or Symt64bit or 12,326 KB or MnBVfy.

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 8/7/XP are 50,688 bytes (85% of all occurrences), 45,568 bytes and 8 more variants. 
It is a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. The file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. Therefore the technical security rating is 4% 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.Win32.Agent.cgz (detected by Kaspersky), and Trojan.Generic.4922277 (detected by F-Secure).
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

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.
smss.exe is a process which is a part of the Microsoft Windows Operating System. It is called the Session Manager Subsystem and is responsible for handling sessions on your system. This program is important for the stable and secure running of your computer and should not be terminated.
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of smss.exe: based on 317 votes with 9 reviews. 102 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. 34 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 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 doing a repair of your installation, or in the case of Windows 8, 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 smss.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

smss.exe [all]