Most antivirus programs identify proto.dll as malware—such as TrendMicro identifies it as TROJ_AGENT.AWNS or TROJ_FAKEALE.SME, and Kaspersky identifies it as Packed.Win32.Katusha.o or Trojan-Spy.Win32.Agent.arbd.
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The process proto.dll has no vendor information.
Description: Proto.dll is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Proto.dll is located in a subfolder of the user's profile folder.
Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 27,136 bytes (33% of all occurrences), 26,624 bytes and 4 more variants.
A .dll file (Dynamic Link Library) is a special type of Windows program containing functions that other programs can call. This .dll file can be injected to all running processes and can change or manipulate their behavior. There is no description of the program. The program has no visible window. It is able to record keyboard inputs. The service has no detailed description. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: Run). It is not a Windows core file. Proto.dll is able to monitor applications and record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 100% dangerous.
Recommended: Identify proto.dll related errors
If proto.dll is located in a subfolder of C:\, the security rating is 90% dangerous. The file size is 26,624 bytes. There is no information about the author of the file. The program is not visible. The service has no detailed description. The application starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: Run). It can change the behavior of other programs or manipulate other programs. Proto.dll is not a Windows system file.
Important: You should check the proto.dll 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.
The following programs have also been shown useful for a deeper analysis: ASecurity Task Manager examines the active proto process on your computer and clearly tells you what it is doing. Malwarebytes' well-known Banti-malware tool tells you if the proto.dll on your computer displays annoying ads, slowing it down. This type of unwanted adware program is not considered by some antivirus software to be a virus and is therefore not marked for cleanup.
A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding PC trouble. 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.