Program exe or COM Surrogate has stopped working in Windows 10

On your Windows 10/8/7 operating system, if you ever receive an error message: Program exe or COM Surrogate has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available, then here are a few troubleshooting steps, I’d like to suggest which may help resolve such errors.

What is COM Surrogate

The dllhost.exe process goes by the name COM Surrogate. It is located in the System 32 folder.

Says Microsoft,

COM Surrogate is the sacrificial process for a COM object that is run outside of the process that requested it. Explorer uses the COM Surrogate when extracting thumbnails, for example. If you go to a folder with thumbnails enabled, Explorer will fire off a COM Surrogate and use it to compute the thumbnails for the documents in the folder. It does this because Explorer has learned not to trust thumbnail extractors; they have a poor track record for stability. Explorer has decided to absorb the performance penalty in exchange for the improved reliability resulting in moving these dodgy bits of code out of the main Explorer process. When the thumbnail extractor crashes, the crash destroys the COM Surrogate process instead of Explorer.

COM Surrogate has stopped working

COM Surrogate has stopped working

There are few reasons that could cause such errors bad or corrupted program, UAC settings, Malware infection, DEP settings, etc. If you recently updated a evice driver maybe you want to rollback and see if that helps. If the issue started recently, could you try a system restore and see if it makes the problem go away? Disabling Thumbnails via File Explorer options is also known to help. If not, here are a few other suggestions.

1] UAC Settings:

On Windows 10/8/7, you have User Account Control (UAC) settings that would prevent administration access for programs due to security reasons. Certain programs need administrator access to run properly so to work around this issue you have to Right Click on the executable file and Run as administrator.

If you want always to run that Program as administrator then Right Click on the shortcut and go to Properties and Click on Compatibility Tab.

Then check on “Run this program as Administrator” Then click on Apply / OK.

Sometime you also might need to enable the Compatibility Mode as certain programs might not be fully compatible with Windows 7/8/10.

If the program is compatible with Windows 10/8/7, make sure you don’t enable Compatibility Mode if its enable uncheck it because it can crash the program as well.

2] Malware Infection:

If you’re getting the error for multiple programs, then there are chances your Windows computer might have got infected. In such cases download a good 3rd party standalone antivirus software and scan your PC with it.

Reboot the system in Safe Mode and run a complete scan.

3] DEP Setting:

DEP setting, i.e., Data Execution Prevention setting might cause the programs to crash. To check those settings

1.       Click on Start and Right Click on Computer and go to Properties

2.       The click on Advanced system settings.

3.       There click on Advanced Tab and click on Settings under Performance session.

COM Surrogate has stopped working

4. Click on Data Execution Prevention.

5.       Make sure you have selected “Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only.”

6.       Then click Apply and click OK and reboot your system

Alternatively, you may select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select, click on Add and add the following:

  • C:\Windows\System32\dllhost.exe for 32-bit systems
  • C:\Windows\SysWOW64\dllhost.exe for 64-bit systems

Click Apply/OK.

4] Re-register DLL files

Open an elevated CMD and execute the following commands:

regsvr32 vbscript.dll
regsvr32 jscript.dll

See if that helps.

If these steps do not resolve then try reinstalling the specific application that is causing the problem.

If it’s happening to one of the Windows components, then try to run SFC /SCANNOW.

See this post if you receive a The action cannot be completed because the file is open in COM Surrogate message.

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Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP alumnus and a Windows Enthusiast with an interest in Advanced Windows troubleshooting. Suggestions made and opinions expressed by him here are his personal one's and not of his current employers. He blogs at captaindbg.com.