What is winnt.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 winnt.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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Winnt.exe file information

The process known as Virtual Kernel Driver for (version x86/x64 Systems) or Systems belongs to software winnt by Intel (

Description: Winnt.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Winnt.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows. The file size on Windows 10/8/7/XP is 32,768 bytes. 
There is no file information. The file is an unknown file in the Windows folder. The program is not visible. The winnt.exe file is not a Windows system file. Therefore the technical security rating is 56% dangerous; however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify winnt.exe related errors

If winnt.exe is located in the C:\Windows folder, the security rating is 86% dangerous. The file size is 582,522 bytes. The winnt.exe file is a file with no information about its developer. The program is not visible. The file is an unknown file in the Windows folder. The software starts when Windows starts (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run). The file is not a Windows core file. The software listens for or sends data on open ports to a LAN or the Internet. Winnt.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs, monitor applications and manipulate other programs.

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware also uses the file name winnt.exe, for example Worm:Win32/Orbina!rts (detected by Microsoft), and Trojan.Win32.Autoit.zr (detected by Kaspersky). Therefore, you should check the winnt.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

winnt.exe is registered as a downloader. This process usually comes bundled with a virus or spyware and its main role is to do nothing other than download other viruses/spyware to your computer.
  Kevin   (further information)

Summary: Average user rating of winnt.exe: based on 2 votes with 1 user comment. 2 users think winnt.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it.

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Best practices for resolving winnt issues

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

winnt.exe [all]