What is winhost.exe?

The genuine winhost.exe file is a software component of W32.Beagle.CL/K@mm Worm.
"winhost.exe" is a falsifying file in Windows, posing as a legitimate Windows file with its name, icon, and false developer name labeled as Microsoft. The file is a Trojan virus that claims to be the Windows Host Support Service. It runs in the background, displaying pop-ups and pop-unders on the screen that display sexual-themed images. It has also been reported that it opens the doorway to more viruses, which leads to very slow system speeds or frozen system operations.

WinHost stands for Windows Host

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 winhost.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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Winhost.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with winhost
Winhost.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as winhost appears to belong to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Microsoft Windows Script Host by Microsoft (

Description: Winhost.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Winhost.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 232,448 bytes (85% of all occurrences) or 7,926,436 bytes. 
There is no description of the program. The program has no visible window. Winhost.exe is not a Windows core file. The application uses ports to connect to or from a LAN or the Internet. Winhost.exe is able to monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 85% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify winhost.exe related errors

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

Important: Some malware also uses the file name winhost.exe, for example Trojan.Win32.Agent.arng or (detected by Kaspersky), and Bitcoin Miner (detected by Sophos). Therefore, you should check the winhost.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

I had it and I had hard time to remove but I did it.
I know that if you use AVG Free Edition antivirus you can get rid of it
  Ruby Cates  
I have noticed that the file Winhost.exe places itself in the c:\windows\prefetch\ folder on my computer...
Name Troj/Lohav-R
  Steffen Fiege   (further information)
in my opinion its definatly a virus
  Tobi Fuchs  
I had to run McAfee in Safe Mode for it to even pick it up and it said it quarantined it , but I don't think it did. I was not able to look at the quarantine log as it would never come up. This dang think caused many popups to come up on my PC including porn sites. Very annoying and does appear to be hard to get rid of. Will try the AVG Free edition to get rid of it.
  Barb V  

Summary: Average user rating of winhost.exe: based on 4 votes with 6 user comments. One user thinks it's neither essential nor dangerous. 3 users think winhost.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 2 users don't grade winhost.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving winhost issues

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

winhost.exe [all]