What is w3wp.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 w3wp.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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W3wp.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with w3wp
W3wp.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as IIS Worker Process belongs to software Internet Information Services by Microsoft (

Description: The original w3wp.exe is an important part of Windows and rarely causes problems. The w3wp.exe file is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows\System32. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 7,168 bytes (33% of all occurrences), 19,968 bytes and 4 more variants. 
W3wp.exe is a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. W3wp.exe is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. Therefore the technical security rating is 2% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify w3wp.exe related errors

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as w3wp.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the w3wp.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

Es bueno
  Alicia LuĂ©vano  
This is used by IIS to launch .net application pool processes
W3wp.exe is used to run server-side executables. Without this, server side process will not run. You should see one of these w3wp.exe instances for each appliation pool you have defined in IIS 6.0 or higher.
  EdFromOhio   (further information)
It's well documented as an IIS application pool file manager
Sometimes, if the CPU utilization goes high, for example, 70% or 80%, restart the IIS service and the WWW service. that will bring down the CPU utilization.
Teil des IIS
Normally uneccessary unless running a IIS. A bad W3WP starts itself, can be found and disabled in taskmanager. Was found on a non-updated/non-patched XP X64 sp1 edge honeypot. 8hours ago it wasn't running, since then I have recieved 3 phonecalls from "". The first was fielded by my assistant. They hung up. The second, I handled and informed them that I run a PC maintenance firm. They hung up. The third time they phoned I informed them that the only PC that I had connected to the internet was my edge honneypot, (used to identify and collect malware). He hung up.
w3wp.exe normally lives in the windows\system32\inetsrv directory
  mickeyding   (further information)
W3WP.exe - It is used to allow specific web based apps, ie TLC etc, to connect to Oracle databases via a session that oracle manages. It then allows data to be passed in both directions allowing users to view data and input data via a web client browser interface.
  M Netley  
It's server side spyware, trash used to spy and access
  kwadrat   (further information)
to stop this exe just restart IIS server
  Rizwan Khan  
It is part of the IIS so is needed if you have IIS installed on your computer. It is not harmful and should not be removed if you have IIS installed and running.
somtimes consumes too much memory & CPU
  ildegardo elizondo   (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of w3wp.exe: based on 25 votes with 14 user comments. 14 users think w3wp.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 8 users think it's probably harmless. One user thinks it's neither essential nor dangerous. 2 users think w3wp.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 3 users don't grade w3wp.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving w3wp issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with w3wp. 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 w3wp.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

w3wp.exe [all]