What is winlogon.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 winlogon.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.

Click to Run a Free Scan for winlogon.exe related errors

Winlogon.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with winlogon
Winlogon.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Windows NT Logon Application or Windows Logon Application or Windows NT-Anmeldung or Toepassing Windows NT-aanmelding or Microsoft Windows Logon Process Service or Aplicación de inicio de sesión de Windows NT or Application d'ouverture de session Windows NT or Applicazione Accesso a Windows NT

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows or Besturingssysteem Microsoft Windows or Sistema operativo Microsoft Windows or Brontok.A or Project2 or NTLOAD or scvhost

by Microsoft ( or China or ADMINPC or Gareth Software or NVIDIA ( (version 42722636448, 53732746459) or s21y7P99e82G78Z79UEfn or jdvsO or N5SD5K6S.

Description: The original winlogon.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Winlogon.exe is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 502,272 bytes (39% of all occurrences), 507,392 bytes and 131 more variants. 
The program is not visible. The file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. Winlogon.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs, monitor applications and manipulate other programs. Therefore the technical security rating is 16% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify winlogon.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is winlogon.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true winlogon.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Windows NT Logon Application". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are e.g. Worm:Win32/Brontok.BH@mm or Trojan:Win32/Comronki!rts (detected by Microsoft), and Email-Worm.Win32.Brontok.q or IM-Worm.Win32.VB.di (detected by Kaspersky).
To ensure that no rogue winlogon.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

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

Important: Some malware disguises itself as winlogon.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the winlogon.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

Can be dangerous and can cause application error cx0005's. It hogs the index.dat file in windows and creates \??\C:\Windows\system32\winlogon.exe in Shared Access. It maybe a virus.
can be very dangerous, but is system file. If not in system32, delete it! Use Unlocker to delete it if you cant!
its windows xp process that must be enabled, or u might get screen of death
It is sometimes fake and can be a virus
  Dr S.J Keeley phD F.R.S  
This file manages Logging off and Logging on set by the user. It's an essential windows process, and will cause no harm. However, Malware can disguise itself as Winlogon.exe, so it's best to have your Antivirus software up to date.
  Anonymous Helper  
If you have TWO winlogons one is fake and actually trying to destory the other! i had this on my laptop and after awhile my screen went blank and i lost my os beacuse the winglogon had destoryed the other.
Without this file you could not log on. important file!
  Kevin Ombecq   (further information)
I have 1 winlogon.exe in C:\Windows\System32, and a couple winlogon.exe and winlogon.exe.mui in C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-winlogon... .
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of winlogon.exe: based on 310 votes with 9 reviews. 108 users think winlogon.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 12 users think it's probably harmless. 55 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 32 users suspect danger. 103 users think winlogon.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 46 users don't grade winlogon.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving winlogon issues

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

winlogon.exe [all]