CSRSS or Client-Server Run-Time Subsystem is a Microsoft Windows kernel file that is responsible for Win32 console handling, thread handling and executing some 16-bit MS-DOS environments. As csrss.exe is a critical system file, it cannot and should not be shutdown manually as this could result in a system crash. However, certain vulnerabilities allow hackers to infect this file and gain control of the system; allowing them to steal sensitive data. To protect private and sensitive information such as passwords or credit card credentials, it is necessary to the clean this infection.
Detecting and Removing CSRSS.EXE Infection
1. Using an anti-spyware scanner to detect and remove the infection
Using an anti-spyware scanner is the easiest method to detect and remove csrss.exe infections. Perform thorough detection using software like SpyHunter, which can also identify other viruses, spyware or malware that may be present in the computer.
2. Manually removing the infection
Step 1: Prepare the system
Windows must be able to show hidden system files in order to proceed with the manual method.
- Access the Control Panel through the Start Menu
- Access Appearance and Personalization through the Control Panel window
- In the appearance and Personalization section, there are Folder Options, click there
- In the Folder Options window, click on View tab and select Show hidden files, folders, and drives
- In the same list, there is an option called Hide protected operating system files (Recommended), uncheck this
- Apply these settings and move on to the next step
Step 2: Search for csrss.exe
In order to delete the infected files, the location of each of them should be noted down.
- Click on the Start Menu, and in the search box type csrss.exe
- Find the location of each file by right-clicking the respective file and clicking properties. Note down the path of each file.
Note: A valid csrss.exe is found in the Windows\System32 folder. CSRSS files in any other locations are malicious.
Step 3: Terminate csrss.exe
- Before the infected files can be deleted, it is necessary to end the running processes.
- Open Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar, and selecting Start Task Manager from the popup menu
- In the Task Manager click on the Processes tab
- Look for csrss.exe in the list and end the process by clicking on the filename and clicking on End Process.
Caution: Do not end a csrss.exe process that shows the username to be SYSTEM. This could crash your computer.
Step 4: Remove the Malicious Files
The last step requires deleting the malicious csrss.exe files that were found in Step 2.
- Navigate to each of the folders that contain the infected csrss.exe file, except the one in Windows\System32 folder
- Delete each file by right-clicking on the file, holding down the Shift key on the keyboard and clicking Delete
- Restart your computer. Open the Task Manager again to confirm removal of the infection
Step 5: Scan System with Anti-Spyware
It is strongly recommended that you scan the system to confirm complete removal of the virus, even if you had followed the manual removal technique. A scanner with an up-to-date spyware definition database is a good way to keep your system virus free.