If you’ve stopped to read this article it’s probably because you are wondering what the conhost.exe process is doing in *Task Manager* and why is it running on you brand new Windows 7 PC. Well, here’s the answer. (or you simply have too much time on your hands and have an unhealthy obsession with computer repairs)
So What Is It?
The conhost.exe process fixes a fundamental problem in the way the previous versions of Windows handled console windows, which broke drag & drop in Vista.
It’s a completely legitimate executable—as long as it’s running from the system32 folder, and is signed by Microsoft. Scanning your computer for viruses is always a good idea.
Wait, What? So Why Do I Need It?
Okay, so now you’d like a little more information….. Here is some background information. Pretty much whenever there is a problem the way the consol process works, on previous versions of Windows—they are all hosted under the csrss.exe (Client Server Runtime Process) service. This process runs as a system-privileged account.
If you go and take a look at the command prompt on Windows XP, you’ll notice that the window doesn’t use the active theme at all. This is because the CSRSS process doesn’t have the ability to be themed.
Now, if you go and take a look at the console in Windows Vista, it looks like it uses the same theme as everything else, but you’ll see that the scrollbars are still using the old style (look closely). That is because the DWM (Desktop Window Manager) process handles drawing the title bars, but underneath it still works the same way, and the scrollbars are part of the window itself.
You might also notice that Windows Vista broke the ability to drag and drop files from Explorer straight into the command prompt. It just flat out doesn’t work, because of security issues between the CSRSS process running with a higher level of privileges.
Windows 7 Does It Differently
Looking at the Process Explorer under Windows 7 shows that the conhost.exe process is running underneath the csrss.exe process.
The conhost.exe process is sitting in the middle between CSRSS and cmd.exe which allows Windows 7 to fix both of the problems in previous versions of Windows—not only do the scrollbars draw correctly, but you can actually drag and drop a file from Explorer straight into the command prompt:
And it will paste in the path onto the command line. (Perhaps this example isn’t very useful).
So, you’re still not convinced?
Okay – if you really want to be sure, check out the file properties for the conhost.exe executable, and you’ll see that the description says Console Window Host:
If you look at the details of the process from within Process Explorer, you’ll notice that the ComSpec is set to cmd.exe; this is a clear indication that it’s hosting the command prompt.
So now you know what the conhost.exe process does, and why you should never attempt to delete it. EVER!!!!
If you are unsure about doing this on your own, never fear! Call 1300 883 021 ans speak to one of our computer repairs geeks now.
Over and out