How to Stop Smss.exe


The system process "smss.exe" stands for Session Manager SubSystem and is a Windows process responsible for beginning the user session. It is distributed by Microsoft and essential to manage the session currently running on your computer. Microsoft recommends you do not stop or delete the process, but if you insist upon it, you can do so by using the Windows built-in task manager. The genuine Windows process is always located in "C:\Windows\System32." If the file is a virus, it may reside elsewhere.

Windows Process

  • Press and hold "Ctrl" and "Alt" and "Del" keys together.

  • Click "Start Task Manager" to launch the task manager.

  • Click the "Processes" tab and scroll down until you see "Smss.exe."

  • Click "End Process" to end smss.exe.


  • Run a virus or spyware scanner to detect any instances of smss.exe that are malicious and attempt to mask themselves as genuine Windows processes.

  • Delete them using your anti-virus software's interface.

  • Restart your computer to complete the process. Your antivirus software typically asks you to reboot to finish the deletion since files that are being used by the system cannot be deleted and, thus, will delete it before it has a chance to start on your next system startup.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you see smvss.exe, it is likely a virus trying to mask itself as an important system process. If so, run a virus and/or spyware scanner to check.

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