What is kss.exe?

The genuine kss.exe file is a software component of Kaspersky Security Scan by Kaspersky Lab.
"Kss.exe" (Kaspersky Security Scan) is a free download utility by Kaspersky Labs, formerly named, "Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool". It only scans for infection and system vulnerabilities and does not remove viruses or disinfect files. The download always includes "Ksu.exe" (Kaspersky Software Updater), an integral part of KSS, which only one page in Kaspersky's website mentions. It installs in "C:\Program Files\Kaspersky Lab\Kaspersky Security Scan 4.0\kss.exe" and can be removed by the Control Panel's "Uninstall a Program" applet, (select "Kaspersky Security Scan"). KSS and KSU both are Windows services set to auto-start; this can be turned off in the Startup tab of "msconfig.exe". Kaspersky Lab North America, founded in 2004 by CEO Eugene Kaspersky, is the world's largest privately-owned cybersecurity company and one of the fastest-growing, based in Massachusetts, USA with offices in 32 countries. Their technology is licensed by other cybersecurity companies for use in their products.

KSS stands for Kaspersky Security Scan

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 kss.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 kss.exe related errors

Kss.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with kss
Kss.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Kaspersky Security Scan or kss.exe" -r belongs to software Kaspersky Security Scan by AO Kaspersky Lab or Kaspersky Lab ZAO (

Description: Kss.exe is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. The kss.exe file is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 1,556,448 bytes (33% of all occurrences), 918,824 bytes, 202,328 bytes, 202,080 bytes or 202,296 bytes. 
The process can be removed using the Control Panel's Add\Remove programs applet. The file has a digital signature. It is not a Windows system file. The program has no visible window. The application starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: DEFAULT\Run, Run). Kss.exe is a file with no information about its developer. Kss.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs and monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 19% dangerous.

Uninstalling this variant: The developer Kaspersky-help provides an update site and an uninstaller (Control Panel ⇒ Uninstall a Program ⇒ Kaspersky Security Scan).

Recommended: Identify kss.exe related errors

If kss.exe is located in a subfolder of the user's "Documents" folder, the security rating is 0% dangerous. The file size is 202,328 bytes. The program can be uninstalled in the Control Panel. The program is not visible. The file is a Verisign signed file. It is certified by a trustworthy company. The file is not a Windows core file.

Uninstalling this variant: The developer Kaspersky provides a website for help and for updates. There is also an uninstaller (Control Panel ⇒ Uninstall a Program ⇒ Kaspersky Security Scan).

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


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Best practices for resolving kss issues

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

kss.exe [all]