You’re probably here because you’ve seen Wininit.exe in Task Manager and you are wondering why it is running on your computer. Worry not, typically this process is pretty safe, it is made by Microsoft, and is installed with Windows. However, there is quite a bit of mystery revolving around this executable and many websites will tell you it is a virus. Let’s look at this process with a little more detail.
Where winit.exe came from
Winit.exe (Windows Initialize) was made by Microsoft and is a core system process that originated in Windows XP since it has been passed down to both Windows 7 and Vista. The file was created to allow uninstallers to run and process commands stored in the file WinInit.ini. This allows programs to take action while the computer is still booting up. In Windows 7 and Vista, it primarily acts as a launcher for the majority of the background applications that are always running.
The file is stored locally on your computer at:
If you find this executable stored in any other location, it is likely a virus that is disguising itself by using wininit.exe as its file name.
Should I disable wininit.exe?
No, wininit.exe is a critical system process the Windows requires in order to function. Ending this process will likely result in a critical system error in which you’ll need to restart your computer. As you can see in the chart below, wininit.exe is at the top of the process tree for all of windows services, including svchost.exe.
Is wininit.exe dangerous?
On a brand new computer, wininit.exe doesn’t pose any threat at all. However on older computers that have been in use for while there is the potential problem of a virus renaming itself to wininit.exe in the form of a malicious copycat disguise. You should be fine though, as long as you have decent security software installed such as Microsoft Security Essentials.
Wininit.exe is a safe Windows executable that was put in place by Microsoft. By itself, the program is not malicious. The only danger is that the name can be copied by other programs in an attempt to mask the real virus, however, that can be said for nearly all programs.