What is the client server runtime process (csrss.exe) running in the Task Manager?

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Whenever you open Task Manager on your PC, you will see the client server runtime process or csrss.exe running. Since most users are not very familiar with Windows processes, they can be cautious. However, it is a crucial Windows process, just like many other processes. Read on to learn more about the client server runtime process.

What is Client Server Runtime Process or csrss.exe?

The client server runtime process is a crucial Windows process that normally runs in the Windows kernel. You can see it under the file Processes tab> Windows processes a Task Manager.



Prior to the release of Windows NT 4.0 in 1996, csrss.exe supported the entire graphics subsystem or GUI which included Windows control, screen drawing, and other similar operating system-based functions. However, with the release of Windows NT 4.0, most of these functions have been deprecated by csrss.exe. However, the client server runtime process is still compatible with the Windows console and shutdown process.

Can we disable the csrss.exe process?

As this is a critical Windows process, it cannot be stopped, disabled or removed. Indeed, it is a harmless process that consumes minimal resources and performs quite some crucial functions in the system.

Therefore, if you try to terminate the client server runtime process in Task Manager, a warning message will be displayed stating that the termination of the process may cause Windows to malfunction or complete shutdown. If you still continue to complete the process, you will see a message that says "Access denied".


The csrss.exe process always starts with Windows startup and then, if it fails when Windows starts, it generates the dreaded blue screen with the error code: 0xC000021A. So I'm not trying to disable this process.

Is the csrss.exe process a virus?

It is not a virus. It is a regular and legitimate process and is found in C: Windows system32 directory on your system. You can check the file path by following the steps below:

Step 1: Right click on Application bar and select Task Manager from the menu.

Step 2: A Task Manager window under the Processes tab, go to Windows processes section. Find the Client server runtime process and right click on it. Please select Open file location.


Step 3: As you can see, the csrss the file is located in C: Windows system32 directory.

As this is an authentic file, trying to delete this file will only create problems with the Windows system.

However, if the csrss.exe file is in another directory, you may need to worry. This could be malware disguised as a client server runtime process, and therefore, to remove it, it is recommended that you run a virus scan with reputable third-party antivirus software to remove the threat.

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