What is sp.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 sp.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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Sp.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with sp
Sp.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Search Protection or Call of Duty®: Black Ops II belongs to software Search Protection or Call of Duty®: Black Ops II or Phoenix R/C by Spigot ( or Activision Publishing.

Description: Sp.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Sp.exe is located in a subfolder of the user's profile folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 1,128,760 bytes (46% of all occurrences), 892,000 bytes and 11 more variants. 
The file is not a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. The file has a digital signature. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, MACHINE\Run). The program has no file description. It is a Verisign signed file. Sp.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 56% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: The software vendor offers the option to do the following:

Recommended: Identify sp.exe related errors

Important: Some malware also uses the file name sp.exe, for example SearchProtection (detected by Symantec), and Spigot Toolbar (detected by Sophos). Therefore, you should check the sp.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. If Search Protection has changed your browser's search engine and start page, you can recover your browser's default settings as follows:

Reset default browser settings for Internet-Explorer ▾
  1. In Internet Explorer, press the key combination Alt + X to open the Tools menu.
  2. Click Internet options.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the Reset... button.
  5. Enable the Delete personal settings option.
This will reset your Internet Explorer to its default settings. Your browser will start with the familiar start page and search engine—without popups, ads, cookies, but all browser add-ons are deleted too [1]. Make cleaning up your browser and your computer simpler and safer with Security Task Manager.


User Comments

We deleted it and all running fine now. Previously machine started running slow and hanging.
Well, my anti-virus blocked it. I'm not sure how I installed it, but it was there and was detected. I restarted my computer, and something removed it. So, I think I'm ok. I would remove it if it inside of AppData/Roaming/Search Protection.
Because of sp.exe, a "Control Center" (with a window title of "Private Center") comes out right after my Windows XP is started. The only choice is "Fix problems" and then "Install antivirus." After I hit "Install antivirus," it came the message "Navigation to the webpage was canceled," in the window of "Antivirus software installing." (Same results appeared in different cities.) I could kill this "Privacy center" after trying for three or four times in Task Manager (ctrl+alt+del), in which "Privacy Center" is the only task. After it was killed, nothing appear and I could do nothing.
Mal-ware Category. DUH
  ×÷·.·´¯`· Phillip ·´¯`·.·÷×   (further information)
I have found at myself. Has found the information on it on, and their antivirus all has cured!
  Den   (further information)
just a message from winXP when i shut down the PC... didn't bother me when on- or offline, maybe because i don't use IE or any other microsoft-program besides XP ?!?
err, just put XP on computer, (upgrade from 98). when i was on 98, it crashed every three hours, and made computer run really slow
Pop ups all over the place
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of sp.exe: based on 138 votes with 9 reviews. 7 users think sp.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. One user thinks it's probably harmless. 19 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 37 users suspect danger. 74 users think sp.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 16 users don't grade sp.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving sp issues

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

sp.exe [all]