How to remove the winload virus

Most antivirus programs identify winload.exe as malware—e.g. McAfee identifies it as Generic PUP.z!bl, and BitDefender identifies it as Trojan.Generic.203201.

The free file information forum can help you find out how to remove it. If you have additional information about this file, please leave a comment or a suggestion for other users.

Click to Run a Free Virus Scan for the winload.exe malware

Winload.exe file information

The process belongs to software WinLoad by none.

Description: Winload.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Winload.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 65,536 bytes (33% of all occurrences), 310,362 bytes or 106,381 bytes. 
There is no description of the program. The program starts when Windows starts (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\RunServices, Run). It is not a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. It is an unknown file in the Windows folder. Winload.exe is able to hide itself, monitor applications and record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 68% dangerous; however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify winload.exe related errors

Important: You should check the winload.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

  Omar   (further information)
Note the Vista boot loader is called winload.exe - it's very similar to a filename "WinLoad.exe" used by a piece of spyware called PC Tattletale.
I have it listed as the spyware PC tatteltale
  Don - Toronto  
When you try to boot vista it complains about a missing or corrupt e:\windows\system32\winload.exe I was able to fix it! We removed all USB devices (and plugged in a PS2 keyboard/mouse) and hooked in a VGA cable instead of DVI. Vista boots!
I found it in the windows startup process. Now I saw one of comment talking about PC tatteltale. I installed this program to monitor my kids'
Boot with CD, select command prompt, execute: bootrec.exe /fixmbr, bootrec.exe /fixboot System works!!
  Yefim Timofeiovitch   (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of winload.exe: based on 11 votes with 7 user comments. 5 users think winload.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. One user thinks it's probably harmless. One user thinks it's neither essential nor dangerous. 2 users suspect danger. 2 users think winload.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. One user is not sure about it.

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Best practices for resolving winload issues

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

winload.exe [all]