What is rthdcpl.exe? Should I remove it?

rthdcpl.exe is a legitimate file related to Realtek audio driver, although can also be malware

rthdcpl.exe is a part of the Realtek driver family that comes from a reputable semiconductor maker. The executable can be found running in the background of any Windows computer that has Realtek HD Audio installed – a chipset[1] that uses codecs developed by the tech company Intel. In most cases, the driver is included along with the sound card, so users do not have to download it separately. Nonetheless, if you are not using these drivers to play sounds on your computer, you should be very concerned, as cybercriminals can disguise the abbreviation of “Realtek High Definition Audio Control Panel” as malware, otherwise known as rthdcpl.exe virus.

Name rthdcpl.exe
Type Audio driver
Location  C:\Windows or C:\Winnt
Display  The process does not display any visible window, although can be found running on the Task Manager or another process monitoring program
Issues Some users encountered “Rthdcpl.exe is not running or corrupted” error, while others experience high CPU usage by the process
Danger level Low, although might indicate malware infection
Removal Only needed when the driver is malfunctioning or is related to malware. To find out if the file is malicious, check its location and scan the device with security software
System fix  If you are experiencing Windows slowdowns, Blue Screen errors, crashes, or similar issues, scan your computer with FortectIntego. The app can also help you recover from malware infection

A legitimate rthdcpl.exe file should be located in C:\Windows folder, unless users chose to place it in a different location if they install the driver themselves. In case the file is located in a subfolder of Program Files, User, or Temp, there is a high chance that the file is malicious, and rthdcpl.exe removal should be performed as soon as possible.

Depending on the threat type, the rthdcpl.exe virus can show different symptoms of the infection. For example, a coin-mining malware would run your CPU at 70-100% all the time the computer is on. In such a case, you would also not be able to run tasks that require more processing power. Any attempts in doing so would result in errors or system crashes.

Nonetheless, some of the computer viruses are engineered in a way to remain invisible to regular consumers. The rthdcpl.exe virus might be running in the background without displaying any signs, so if the computer is not equipped with anti-malware, it can remain on the system for a very long time before being noticed.

In the background, malware such as RAT (Remote Access Trojan) would allow the attackers to elevate the permissions on the machine, and then compromise the machine further, e.g., download more malicious programs, steal personal information, take screenshots, control the camera, use the computer as a bot that can send out spam, and much more. As a result, you could face serious privacy risks, which could result in monetary loss or even identity theft. As you can see, you should remove rthdcpl.exe Trojan if such was found on the machine.

To do that, you should download and install powerful anti-malware software and perform a full system scan. In case the infection is interfering with this process, you should access Safe Mode with Networking and perform a full scan from there.

However, most commonly, users will run into troubles with Realtek drivers, not because of malware infection. Besides, the high CPU usage of the rthdcpl.exe process might also not necessarily be related to a virus. Users reported the following error:[2]

Rthdcpl.exe is not running or corrupted

In such a case, you should reinstall Realtek HD Audio Manager, as some core files could have gotten corrupted. Nonetheless, if you still experience issues with your Windows machine, we recommend using a PC repair tool such as FortectIntego – it can repair various system files automatically.

Do not let malware to corrupt your computer

There are millions of strains of malware created over the years, and even the oldest infections that are not actively spread (such as Zeus, Conficker, Koobface, or Virtumonde) are still somewhere in the cyberspace, and people still can get infected. Not to mention, malicious actors are constantly creating malware that is polymorphic, modular, fileless, and evasive – all the traits that prevent consumers from detecting and removing an infection quickly.

Therefore, it is vital to protect your machine adequately, and there as several methods that could help you out with that, according to novirus.uk[3] specialists. Here are a few tips:

  • Download and install powerful anti-malware solution with real-time protection feature;
  • Install system and program updates on a regular basis;
  • Do not open email attachments that ask you to run macro function;
  • Watch our for hyperlinks within the suspicious emails – hover your mouse over to see the real link you will be redirected to;
  • Install ad-blocker;
  • Never download software cracks, pirated software installers, or similar dangerous files from the internet;
  • Backup your most important files on a separate medium;
  • Use strong passwords for all your accounts and never reuse them.

Remove rthdcpl.exe on if it is necessary

Keep in mind that, if you remove rthdcpl.exe that is legitimate, you can suffer from sound problems on your computer – most likely, you will not be able to hear audio at all. In other words, and Windows machine needs sound drivers (either built-in or from a third-party) to work properly. In case you are having issues with a driver, you should simply reinstall it or download the newest version from the manufacturer's website.

However, in case the file is related to malware, you should not delay rthdcpl.exe removal. As mentioned above, there are several ways to find out whether the file is related to a Realtek driver or a virus – check its location and scan your machine with powerful anti-malware software. Note that some viruses are very good as disguising on the infected system, and some security programs might not be able to detect rthdcpl.exe virus right away. Thus, a scan with multiple security tools is recommended.

do it now!
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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Fortect, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.
About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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