What is rundll32.exe? Should I remove it?

Rundll32.exe is a legitimate Windows file used for DLL library distribution, although its name is also used by scammers

Rundll32.exe is a legitimate file that runs in the background of all Windows-based operating systems and is located in the \Windows\System32 folder. The process is a vital part of the OS – it helps with dynamic link library[1] (.dll) distribution within the memory. In other words, Dynamic Link Libraries are essential files that store parts of data that belongs to a particular application and cannot launch without the help of Rundll32.exe.

For that reason, Rundll32.exe rarely causes any problems, although some users noticed an unusually high CPU usage used by the process, or several instances of it running. Although rare, these unusual symptoms might indicate malware infection that can replace, corrupt, or mimic the original EXE process. These malicious versions of the file might infiltrate other viruses into the device, include it into a botnet[2] and harvest users' sensitive banking details and use them for illegal purposes.

Additionally, the process name is known to be abused by technical support scammers[3] that insert malicious messages into Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, or another browser with the help of adware or redirect viruses. Thus, if you notice any type of “warning” message using the Rundll32.exe process within a browser – it is a scam, and you should never call the provided number, or you might lose a lot of money.

Name rundll32.exe
Developer Microsoft Corporation
Runs in Task Manager
Related to explorer.exe
Danger level The original file is not dangerous, although malicious versions can pose a tremendous risk for users' privacy. You should raise questions about the purpose of the file when it is located in another place than C:\Windows\System32
Malicious or legitimate? To make sure that Rundll32 is safe, run a scan using FortectIntego or another security software

The initial Rundll32.exe should rarely cause any troubles, although, just like any other executable, it can cause certain errors. In such a case, there is a chance that the related .dll file is broken, or there is something wrong with system files altogether. If you encounter any type of Rundll32.exe errors, you should run a System File Checker or employ Fortect – it can fix Windows-related errors automatically.

However, if you have noticed multiple Rundll32.exe processes within Windows Task Manager or high resource usage by the process, it might indicate a malware infection. Such an executable file is often a target of hackers who seek to hide severe computer infections like spyware, keyloggers, Trojans, and other behind it.

To make sure that is (not) the case, please run a full system scan using reputable anti-malware software like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Such programs can find possible intruders and clear the machine from any cyber threats if any gets detected. This is how you might find and remove the rundll32.exe virus if such gets indicated.

In another case, you might encounter the “Error code: rundll32.exe” fake error that shows up within the browser during web browsing sessions. There are multiple different versions of the scam, but one of the examples reads as follows:

Confirm Navigation

The problem is caused by an unusual activity performed on this machine. Error code: rundll32.exe. Call Microsoft Support Number Now – +1-844-988-6363 and share this code with the agent.

Are you sure you want to leave this page?

Without a doubt, legitimate scanners require to be stand-alone applications, and claims about malware infection, system corruption, or other issues within browsers are utterly bogus. Never call the provided number, as crooks might talk you into giving them permission to access the computer remotely and install malware, or make you pay for bogus tech support.

If you are constantly encountering “Error code: rundll32.exe” scam, you can find a comprehensive adware removal guide and the fix for this error.

While adware might display false rundll32.exe virus alerts, it can also show other different symptoms, such as:

  • An excessive amount of intrusive ads;
  • Irritating interstitial ads;[4]
  • Browser slowdown;
  • Redirects to unknown/suspicious websites;
  • System freezes, etc.

The legitimate file is typically located in the folder C:\Windows\System32. If you suspect that virus or malware might have corrupted the file, check the location of the file. If it's not located in the System32 folder, then you should remove the rundll32.exe file immediately. For this purpose, use a reliable anti-virus with updated definitions. Otherwise, it can start downloading malware onto your PC.

Main techniques used to spread malware

Most of the legitimate Windows OS files are built-in by default and cannot download as standalone installers. In case of corruption, such a system's components are normally fixed by installing the latest updates or using professional systems' optimization tools.

However, malware that pretends to be one of the system's files can sneak into the system in various ways. One of the primary malware distribution techniques is freeware bundling. For monetization purposes, freeware developers supplement their products with multiple browser extensions, add-ons, and toolbars, which travel marked as default components.

Consequently, if the user ends up selecting the Quick installation method, he or she agrees with the installation of the whole package. To prevent adware and browser hijacker on the system, it's a must to select Advanced setup all the time and deselect unwanted components.

More severe computer infections are usually disseminated via exploit kits, malicious spam email attachments, infected links, fake or phishing websites, phony update prompts, illegal software installed, and so on. Although there's no hundred percent protection from severe computer infections, keeping the system updated and establishing a professional anti-malware tool is usually sufficient to deter infections.

A comprehensive Rundll32.exe virus removal tutorial

The original executable should not be terminated or otherwise modified. Rundll32.exe removal can cause severe system malfunctions or even crash. However, if you suspect that this file has been compromised, you should scan the system with anti-malware.

There's no way to remove the Rundll32.exe virus manually. Such threats that get hidden as system files and executables can perform the most dangerous and damaging activities. Trojans, malware, cryptocurrency miners, and many other triggers all the issues in the background and can run for a while, so only automatic AV tools or security apps like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can help in such cases.

The first sign of an error is increased CPU usage. Besides, multiple processes of this file should be running within Task Manager, none of which can be terminated. Finally, the general system's slowdowns, crashes, and freezes are also common symptoms of Rundll32.exe virus. You should think about general system issues and problems that corrupted or damaged files might lead to, so check the machine for file corruption or unwanted alterations with FortectIntego.

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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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