What is mshta.exe? Should I remove it?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -

Mshta.exe is an element of Microsoft HTML Application Host

Mshta.exe is a process which is a part of legitimate Microsoft HTML Application Host for Internet Explorer. This utility executes HTA or HTML files on Windows operating system. The executable file is not harmful to your computer if it is located in C:\Windows\System32\ directory. Otherwise, the name of Mshta.exe might be used as a disguise for a Trojan horse, like Hshta.exe

  Legitimate file Malicious file
Name Mshta.exe Mshta.exe
Type System file Trojan horse
Danger level Not dangerous High. Can be used to infiltrate the PC with ransomware
Related to Microsoft HTML Application Host Chromium virus
Distribution Installed together with Internet Explorer The common distribution source is malvertising, unprotected P2P networks, or software-bundles
Location C:\Windows\System32\ C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ or other directories
Symptoms The process is used to open HTA or HTML files Might cause system slowdowns, crashes or increase CPU usage as well as help infiltrate the computer with malware
Elimination You can uninstall Mshta.exe if it is dangerous to your system with Reimage

According to the experts, those who wonder is Mshta.exe safe should identify how this executable file appeared on their computers. The legitimate file must be located in C:\Windows\System32\ directory and installed together with Internet Explorer. Mshta.exe executes Microsoft HTML Application Host program once IE is installed. 

Microsoft HTML Application Host  consists of the following elements which are compatible with Internet Explorer:

  • VBScript;
  • JScript;
  • Dynamic HTML;
  • HTML.

Mshta.exe is necessary for Microsoft HTML Application Host. Thus, we do not recommend you to terminate this process. Otherwise, you might encounter various problems with Internet Explorer after Mshta.exe removal. Instead, ensure that this executable is actually dangerous. 

Cybersecurity researchers say that the name of Mshta.exe might be exploited to disguise Trojan horse on the system. Recently, computer users report about suspicious pop-up windows which urge to update Chromium. After checking the location of Mshta.exe file, the person found it in C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ directory. 

Therefore, there is a substantial risk that Mshta.exe might be related to Chromium virus. Trojan horses are highly dangerous cyber threats which are sophisticated enough to mimic the activity of legitimate system files while performing the following malicious operations in the background:

  • Mining cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Monero;
  • Logging keystrokes and stealing personal data;
  • Displaying fake login windows to obtain credentials and banking information;
  • Distributing other malicious programs, including ransomware.

Additionally, Mshta.exe Trojan has the ability to hide itself on the computer. Novice PC users might not even have a chance to detect the infection manually. Thus, we strongly advise using professional anti-malware tools to scan your files. If the security software recognizes any potential dangers, it will remove Mshta.exe automatically. Reimage is an excellent choice.

Trojan horses have multiple attack vectors

Malicious programs are created to not only hide their presence on the computer but also employ sophisticated infiltration techniques. Additionally, hackers combine social engineering tactics with multiple distribution techniques to increase the rate of infections.

Usually, users can be tricked to install Trojan horses via the following methods:

  • Deceptive ads and pop-up windows;
  • Unprotected peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing websites;
  • Bundled with third-party tools.

Likewise, users are advised to download programs only from reliable sources. Additionally, it is advisable to stay away from software cracks and suspicious updates. Instead, browse in verified sites and avoid clicking on commercial content on your frequently visited pages. 

Malicious Mshta.exe elimination guide

It is evident that some programs might be categorized as Mshta.exe virus. Although, it is essential to be sure that the process is actually dangerous to your computer's system before heading to the elimination procedure. First, check the location of Mshta.exe. 

If it is placed in multiple or suspicious places on your system, you should remove Mshta.exe right away. As it was mentioned, Trojan horses can employ sophisticated tactics to remain persistent. Therefore, you should rely on professional security tools to protect your PC. 

Mshta.exe removal can be completed by scanning your device with Reimage or Malwarebytes. These antivirus programs are designed to detect even the most advanced cyber threats and uninstall them quickly. Note, that you should not hesitate to get rid of the malicious Mshta.exe file as it might open paths for malware. 

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is a recommended tool to scan your system for possible threats and crappy software. The trial version of the product will find harmful applications in your system.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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