What is spnsrvnt.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 spnsrvnt.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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Spnsrvnt.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with spnsrvnt
Spnsrvnt.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Sentinel Protection Server for SuperPro and UltraPro network keys or Sentinel Protection Installer (version 7.2.2, 7.0.0, 7.4.0, 7.2.1, 7.3.0, 7.3.1) or SuperProNet Combo Installer or OCRDiscovery or Sentinel SuperPro (version 6.3.1) or Sentinel Protection Server

belongs to software Sentinel Protection Installer or Sentinel SuperPro or SPI or SuperProNet Combo Installer or Sentinel Protection Server or SentinelSuperProNet Server or OCRDiscovery or Sentinel UltraPro

by SafeNet ( or Rainbow Technologies ( or Discover-E.

Description: Spnsrvnt.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. Spnsrvnt.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files\Common Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 206,400 bytes (49% of all occurrences), 193,592 bytes and 9 more variants. 
There is no file information. The program has no visible window. The file is a Verisign signed file. The file has a digital signature. It is not a Windows system file. The software uses ports to connect to or from a LAN or the Internet. The program can be uninstalled in the Control Panel. Therefore the technical security rating is 30% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: It is possible to do the following:
  1) uninstall Sentinel Protection Installer or SafeNet, Inc. software via Windows Control Panel/Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows 10/8/7)
  2) consult Safenet-inc’s Customer Service
  3) search for an update on the vendor’s website.

Recommended: Identify spnsrvnt.exe related errors

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as spnsrvnt.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the spnsrvnt.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

Super Pro security dongle/key server.
  C. Kinser  
Has to do with a Rainbow Technologies Hardware Key for software that requires a hardware key. Might be listening/watching for a network key as opposed to a local machine key.
  Greg Carttar  
Appears to write to the LPT port every 5 seconds
  David Dessert  
Part of the Rainbow Drivers or Rainbow Toolkit for their Superpro USB security device
It is for a software key used with Imageing software
  Eric Speake  
Mine is for a USB dongle for Lightwave 3D 8.3.
Rainbow Hardware Key Drivers
  Ne Won Kyaw  
comes with sentinel rainbow protection
Version 7.0 causes errors with Adobe CS2 installed on the same machine. Takes up 90% of processor usage. Hangs up computer.
It's specifically used to query dongles on either the USB or Parallel port. It's blue screened my laptop a few times when I had the paralell port portion working.
  Jerome L  
It is used for imaging, ocr software
Its a server needed for the use of hardware keys
  Homar Lopez  
It's a part of sentinental protection system. If your computer slowes down, do next: Stop the "spnsrvnt.exe" process from the process list.
caused jerky MP3 playback (WinAmp/Media Player)
Related to USB key that provides a license for certain software such as Timberline Estimating
Mine is for USB dongle for RhinoCam1.1
Come with sentinel hardware key, installed with iConvert, use port 6002
I think it is part of my Sentinel SuperPro USB key driver software for my Lightwave 8.5 - it currently seems to be using 50% CPU usage - that started after I decided to block its access to the internet.
Rainbow Technology
I use several programs that use Rainbow sentinels. Began getting error messages after I upgraded my sentinel driver to version 7.1.1
Rainbow Technologies Hardware Key
  John Krikawa  
It was used with USB hardware Key from Sentinel. After removing secured program it was taking control over 100% CPU usage. (Sentinel program was installed separetly)
Associated with IAR Systems visualSTATE, which requires a USB dongle
  Richard Pyle  
It seems to be for my hardware dongle (Origin)
Kofax VRS image software
  Todd   (further information)
Used by a USB Dongle (Sentinel) made by Rainbow Technologies (mine is for Lightwave 9). You can get a diagnostic utility for these at the link provided here. At the very least you can find out if your dongle is working or if you're looking at a trojan with the same name.
  dysamoria   (further information)
Rainbow Hardware Key Drivers
Some cases Produces CPU usage to 99%
Not running anything that requires a dongle key, so I have no idea where this is coming from. Sucks up 99% of the CPU time.
  S. Yang  
WYSIWYG Lighting Design Software uses this service.
SafeNet Sentinel USB Hardware key
  igoklo   (further information)
it appears in a package called sentinal services, it uses up about 50% of the processor time (constant)
it comes in a package called sentinal services whatever that is. It also uses up 50% of your processor time
  philip Gordon  
throws error on startup, locked computer when trying to access domain. after removal -- everything's back to normal -- there's an updated version of sentinel drivers which are not using this service
It is definately the USB dongle driver for Sentinel (AKA SafeNet , AKA Rainbow). If you have a piece of software that requires a Sentinel dongle, the software will not work without the dongle driver. There is, however, an interesting twist: SafeNet offers three versions of the software. The version selection format on the Sentinel website, however, is obtuse and perverse. It is too easy to download the wrong version. If you download the "server" version instead of the plain vanilla version and run it on a non-server machine, it chewed up 100% the CPU cycles (50% on my dual core PC).
it uses 50% cpu
All I know its it killed my laptop. I to use a USB Key. but will uninstall it and call Sentinel and ask them whats up.
it came with Sentinel so all you have to do is end process then go to search, find spnsrvnt.exe and delete it. i have had no problens after that
every boot up of my system spnsrvnt.exe uses a constant 100% of my cpu. Its basically flooding the system DoSAttack!!!
Used to manage hardware keys for the protection of some programs web site of the company
  Marc A   (further information)
Used with Esri ArcGIS. If not installed or running throws an irritating message at startup
Also have it for Lightwave but I never had a problem with it till v9.6. It only happened when I was connected to our company domain but the sntlkeyssrvr.exe service would shoot to 99%. Thanks to Rflasck's comment I uninstalled and reinstalled without the Server option and it cleared up. The server option was enabled to install by default.
I isntalled the same software (TFcalc) on Windows2000 and WinXP. The XP install loads spnsrvnt.exe. Uses several percent of CPU when TFcalc software is not running. The hardware USB dongle is labelled "Sentinel SafeNet SuperPro"
Seems to be associated with a program that was installed. Once program was removed, over 99% CPU usage occured
  G. Alan  
Used for the Newtek Lightwave 3D dongle among other software.
i use senitnel software keys and this exe has only started causing a problem with Vista (no problems with XP or earlier). Software vendor recommended just uninstalling it as it served no purpose.
It was causing a click every 5-8 seconds on my new Tascam US 122 USB sound card
Used for USB Dongle for Xarios Phone Software server
USB dongle verification software - not malware but uninstall it if you don't need it
Mine was a malware and highly dangerous under windows folder
This file, and the USB PRO Dongle key are used to authenticate this diagnostic and repair program, Winternals Software's Administrators Pak, developed by an ex-chief program designer of Microsoft, illegally used by, most notably, the geek squad of Best Buy. After the law suit was won, the company folded, and the President went back to microsoft as the lead program designer. Soon after, the program became unusable unless the Safenet software was installed previous to the windows problem. If you have ever had your system repaired, this program and this file were used to fix it.

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of spnsrvnt.exe: based on 51 votes with 52 user comments. 24 users think spnsrvnt.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 6 users think it's probably harmless. 12 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 5 users suspect danger. 4 users think spnsrvnt.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 9 users don't grade spnsrvnt.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving spnsrvnt issues

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

spnsrvnt.exe [all]