What is csrss.exe Process and Why It Causes High CPU Usage?

While researching a list of the processes that ran in the Task manager in Windows 7, 8 or 10, you can face with csrss.exe (Client Server Runtime Process) process that can load your CPU extremely high. What can you do with that?

In this article we will take a closer look at csrss.exe process in Windows: share info about its purposes, we’ll talk about solutions on how to remove csrss.exe and why does it loads your machine’s CPU.

What is a Client Server Runtime Process (csrss.exe)?

It’s important to mention that csrss.exe process is a part of Microsoft Windows Operating System, and you can see it through Task manager; there can be a few such processes launched.

Client Server Runtime Process (csrss.exe) process is responsible:

  • for console windows;
  • for deleting or creation of threads;
  • it’s implementing the portions of 16-bit virtual MS-DOS environment and other functions.

csrss exe

You can’t just remove or disable the csrss.exe process. In case you’ll try – you’ll face the error 0xC000021A on BSOD.

What to Do in Case csrss.exe Loads CPU High? Is it a Virus?

In case csrss.exe loads your CPU high, at first you need to take a closer look on this process. Go to Task Manager, then right click on the process and choose Open file location.

By default, the file is located in folder C:\Windows\System32. In case you have csrss.exe located in the same folder on your machine – most likely, it’s not the virus. You can also check this by clicking on Properties of the file; after that switch to Details tab —> then take a look at Product name section – you must see Microsoft Windows Operating System.

csrss exe process

On other hand, at Digital signatures tab you must see Microsoft Windows Publisher in Signature list.

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csrss exe properties

If you have original csrss.exe file running, it means that the process loads CPU high because of incorrect work of system functions which is the process responsible for. Most often these issues related to some of the power options or hibernation.

Tip. A lot of viruses using the name csrss.exe and that makes possible for the virus to hide from user and don’t cause suspicion.

Change Hibernation File Size and Update Drivers

In case you’ve performed some actions with hibernation file before, try to change hibernation file size to maximum (by default, the size of hiberfil.sys is 75% of the total amount of RAM that is installed).

If the problem started occurring after «big» update or Windows re-install, make sure you have the latest drivers installed from manufacturer’s website (especially ACPI, graphics card or chipset drivers) on your machine.

Re-install related DLLs and/or Components That Can Cause Issues

If the problem is not with the drivers, there is one more way to find out what is the cause of the issues:

  1. Download and run the utility Process Explorer by using link https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer;
  2. In the list of processes find csrss.exe (that cause high CPU load) and double click on it;
    csrss exe high cpu load
  3. Go to Threads tab (you need to have Debugging Tools for Windows (WinDbg) installed) and sort the list by CPU. Most likely, in the Start Address field you can find out what dll is used;
    csrss exe threads
  4. Find out what kind of DLL is used (by using search) and find out which related components may cause issues; reinstall those components if it’s possible.
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Tip. In most cases (but that’s not the rule!) there are 2 processes that are usually running:

  1. C:\Windows\system32\csrss.exe
    Libraries: winsrv.dll, csrsrv.dll
  2. C:\Windows\system32\csrss.exe
    Libraries: cdd.dll, winsrv.dl, csrsrv.dll

Additional Methods That Can Be Helpful to Fix the Problems With csrss.exe

  • Try to create a new Windows user, then log out from current user (it’s important to log out, not just to change user!) and check if the problem still persists (sometimes high CPU load can be caused by damaged profile, in this case you can use Windows system restore points);
  • Check your PC for viruses and malware.

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