What is wowexec.exe? Is wowexec.exe spyware or a virus?

How to fix wowexec.exe related problems?
1. Run Security Task Manager to check your wowexec process
2. Run Windows Repair Tool to repair wowexec.exe related Windows Errors
3. Run MalwareBytes to remove persistent malware

The Windows-On-Windows process, wowexec.exe is called by the NT Virtual DOS Machine process, ntvdm.exe to enable running 16-bit MSDOS programs or yester-year games on the present 32-bit Operating Systems like Windows 2000, NT, XP and onwards. It executes as soon as any 16-bit application is run, but continues to reside and run in the background even after the application is closed.http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/wowexec.exe.html 

If you want a detailed security rating about your wowexec.exe (and all other running background processes) read the following user opinions, and download the free trial version of Security Task Manager.

Note: Any malware can be named anything - so you should check where the files of the running processes are located on your disk. If a "non-Microsoft" .exe file is located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder, then there is a high risk for a virus, spyware, trojan or worm infection! Check it out!

Click to Run a Free Scan for wowexec.exe related errors

Users Opinions

Average user rating of wowexec.exe: based on 161 votes. Read also the 164 reviews.

584 users ask for this file. 86 users rated it as not dangerous. 11 users rated it as not so dangerous. 28 users rated it as neutral. 12 users rated it as little bit dangerous. 24 users rated it as dangerous. 21 users didn't rate it ("don't know").

All comments about wowexec.exe:
it's not dangerous,but u must end this process after u use it(such as some old game),it will eat ur cpu.  
it seems to become active in concert with another file and blocks activity in my IE   Harmon N. Brody
no threat part of operating system and if anti virus soft doesnt get it dont worry about it   nomadpro
related to popup that says registry is at risk... attaches to registry and Win32 folder, stays on top of all screens,installs with windows and messenger, related to unknow installer that re-enters it in the registry and win32 folder. File search and registry show a space before the letter "W" in wow. It's installer is hidden in the WINinit system folder. haven't found which one yet.   Willis
Windows on Windows Exec (WoWExec) for running 16-bit programs under 32-bit windows. It starts every time you launch a 16-bit app   BillyBob
Windows16-bit On WindowsNT emulator - launched in conjunction with NTVDM.exe (NTVirtualDosMachine) in order to enable NT-based Windows operating systems to run MSDOS programs - mostly old games. It's a part of the operating system and without it you can't run older games. Only drawback seems to be that it stays resident in memory even after you exit from the game and sometimes will not allow another old game to launch until you manually shut it down from inside Windows Task Manager.  See also: Link   Craig Wilson - Lead Technician, CompUSA 0520
There are two types of this program. One is a vital system process, and another is a hidden trojan, disguised as the usual process. You can identify the trojan as it has a space before the name, which may be because it is attaching itself to another process. I do not how to remove this, as i have it myself, but i have managed to round up this information from other websites.   Steve
It's blocking my IE   Matthias
i keep my PC squeaky clean. all of a sudden wowexec.exe appears in my task manager so i ended the process and deleted the file. Havent had any problems since.   mike
ok it's a little spy , but if u remove it fom starup in msconfig and rename it, won't do any harm.it can be removed manualy.   setythe1st
It's supposed to be in your C:\Windows\System32\ folder. If it's not there, chances are it's bad! The program is used to run 16-bit programs on 32-bit computers. Be careful about dealing with this.   Ragnar
It is generally launched when using a legacy application or game. For example, whenever I run Jack Nicklaus 5, a game from 1997, it will launch and will stay in memory unless removed manually by the user. I have noticed that it cause interruptions when using media products, such as Windows Media Player or a video player such as DivX Player. It also shows a space before its name. under XP Proccesses.   Chris
ouch!! OK after wowexec lauches a 16bit app. like sheep.exe, the wowexec becomes the 'shell' of that process. if it is terminated wowexec will remain in process. waiting for you to launch another sheep or orange. But if the wowexec is terminated before closing the 16 bit app it called then there's this sheep running around without a mean of closing it.   dho
once it starts and lauches the 16 bit app Like sheep or orange, the wowexec can be terminated safely cause t did it's job and will do so each time you want another sheep or orange.   dho
I find it in the list of processes for my Gateway2000 (Pentium II), running W2K with an indentation of one space. Looks curious.   rdwells
the space at the beginning of the process name gives it away as an imposter. It is a hacker invastion.   Chris C
It's blocking my IE and puts it's self back after manually deleting files. There is no uninstall listed and deosn't show up under my Task Manager. I am unable to stop it or remove it at this time   grendel_z
It is blocking my browser. Both IE and Firefox. I have to try 3-4 times to access any website!   Shashi
well, i was having troubles wid internet, not being able to connect and shizzle, and then i open task manager and this wowexec thing is there with its space behind its name and some other program nlvcldk.exe or some crap underneath it, i ended it imediatly i think its a hacker i dont kno how to get it  
I know everytime my pc suddenly starts bogging down, deleting wowexec.exe is the culprit. The indentation gives it away as something that's not supposed to be there.   RyanG
it loads/runs when I run sunny data, sdcv37.exe this program 'monitors' my serial port to 'read' the output of an rs232 signal on a solar electrical system, software availble http://www.sma-america.com/index.aspx a pdf file regarding running it is a 'link' above this page adds one blank space to the url. Please take the last blank space off the link to make it work..  
Identify 16-bit Programs that Are Running 1 To determine if any 16-bit programs are currently running, and identify any that are: 1. Start Task Manager. To do so, right-click a blank spot on the taskbar, and click Task Manager. 2. On the Processes tab, note the contents of the Image Name column. 3. If any 16-bit programs are running, you see an entry for Ntvdm.exe, which is the virtual DOS machine that is provided by Windows XP. You also see wowexec.exe (the Windows on Windows subsystem), and the executable name of each 16-bit program that is running in that WOW virtual machine. As a helpful v  See also: Link   Alex
The space before "wowexec.exe" in the task manager is supposed to be there. Any other processes indented like that just means it is a 16-bit process. I did read though that "_wowexec.exe" is bad stuff. Notice the underscore _ Link is to MS site about identifying 16-bit processes.  See also: Link   Esteric
The 'space' before it's name in the process manager is NOT a sign of it being a malicious version, Microsoft has it this way so you can easily identify 16-bit programs running under WoW.   Menthol
WOWexec.exe is a 16bit emulator for 16 bit software on a 32 bit windows platform. A space doesn't before the name isn't because it's a troyen  
not harmful.   Micke
This is a file that works with ntvdm to handle 16-bit calls from older programs. If you want it out of memory, stop the ntvdm process(es) that are active.   DJ
Its not a virus or worm, the filename will have a space before it in task manager so dont be scared, I guess the space is to show that its a shell for a program   Karan D
The file is fine. A lot of people out there have been saying this is a bad file. There are many suspicious attributes: space in front of the name, no PID, no mem usage stat. These unusual indicators are a result of wowexec.exe being so old and legacy-oriented. The suspicious attributes are actually an action performed by windows to enable the user to easily identify 16-bit applications.  
when i delete it from my system32 directory it allways is there after some refresh..   bobo
Help! When listed in Windows Task Manager the name is preceded with one blank. I can kill it from there, but can’t locate it anywhere on he drive except where it is supposed to be: C:\WINDOWS\system32. ?mike; where did you find the file to delete?   redEva
I've had this file and ppl i know have also! I Made a folder on a seperate HD, then i copied & pasted the wowexec.exe into the new folder and zipped it up, then i deleted the orig wowexec.exe and we've had no further issues. Before i removed it my cpu was idle at 20% ish, now its between 0% and 4%   Soulvex
Close it as soon as your game loads to save CPU. It's only needed to get 16-bit apps (mostly games) started.   Scott R
The space definately a hack. It doesn't take up memory? Not even a kb value, creepy. Either delete it or just end it every time you start up   Stephen_C
If any 16-bit programs are running, you see an entry for Ntvdm.exe, which is the virtual DOS machine that is provided by Windows XP. You also see wowexec.exe (the Windows on Windows subsystem), and the executable name of each 16-bit program that is running in that WOW virtual machine. As a helpful visual aid, wowexec.exe and the 16-bit executable file names are indented.--In my case, the 16-bit program was an old CAD program, also indented in the process list, as described.  See also: Link   John Steel
I found that this file is typically installed after or runs itself after using a old pc game for windows 98 or 95 era. The file is there but creates a stealth file somewhere in the C:\ drive. From what I see its not bad. Though as noted here can eat cpu usage. However once a pc is rebooted it is out of the process list. I did not have internet connections to those pcs and the file was there when the pcs came new from factory. win xp and 98. However there is a malicious wowexec.exe out there but hard to get. I do not know its purpose though.   CW
a space character before this file name is dangerous. it should be a virus/trojan. This will hack our system   jayaraj
When I tried to shutdown my XP, it hung and said " End Program - WOWEXEC ". But it wouldn't do anything, even the Task manager cannot be displayed, so I've got no choice but to do a cold boot.   Jango
This file just starting showing up on my processes, it's never been there before, I end the process but it just keeps comming back, and I'm not running any 16bit apps, the file look legit, and passes all my scans, but I dunno wazup with it.....   cpt_internet
(All scans with Eset NOD32 AV, and Webroot Spy Sweeper, Spybot Search&Destroy come up clean) I started seeing this file when I installed some DOS games. As far as I can tell if it doesn't have an underscore "_" before it's name it's okay. I noticed ntvdm.exe as well. If you close ntvdm.exe the " wowexec.exe" will also close. No problem with the file although I did notice that it seems to crash my browsers (IE, OP, FX) when they're trying to play embedded media files. Not sure if " wowexec.exe" is the cause but my browsers won't crash if it's not running.  See also: Link   bizzyb0t
MS claims that even though there is a space, its needed in NT based operating systems to emulated 16bit programs (ie. windows 3.1, DOS and earlier)  See also: Link   Andrew
A blank space before its name I guess its a trojan. Unable to track him. Try to kill him continuously. I;m using AVG antivirus (paid software). They couldnt find what it is. It popups during online. Anybody can help me?   Jayaraj
I know I never run any 16-bit apps, but wowexec.exe is allways running. It uses no memory for about ten minutes but right when it does a pop-up apears.  
Its bogus if its got a sapce prior to it in sys processes w/ no mem allocated! I went to symantech and typed it in their database search. MY MACHINE FREAKED and it continued to try to connect to the page fo info as if in a loop. Finally it did open the page. Next time I opened Processes IT WAS GONE! An annoyance.   teflonheart
I dont know what this is but It appeared after I installed and played an MMORPG called Neocron then crashed.   Ron
without the space in front of it on task manager it is harmless but with the space it is spyware and needs to be removed   matthewj1987
i'm not 100% sure if this process is dangerous, but it is running on my computer just when i'm at work. So i think, that just some of our office programs use this and even if it runs, I can browse internet without any problems. This file is shown with space at the beginning in process manager.   martin
The file is contained in an archive and windows will automatically reextract it to system32 if it needs it. The program is just what has been said here: It runs 16 bit programs without shredding your processor. Microsoft wrote the program, and it is meant to stay in windows. You can feel free to close it if there are no other 16 bit programs running (nothing else indented in your task manager) but it hardly uses any resources (a few bytes of memory is all)  
slows down my computer, and makes games crash sometimes.. (?!)   Sandra
Only time this file loads on my system is when I play this old game called Stars! I use to play back in the win3.1 days. It does have a space before the name under processes but I believe it to be the proper setup for this exe file as it would be a strange trojan to only launch when a VERY old game is launched but I could be wrong will keep my eyes on it.   Jstesk
You cannot delete this file; windows file protection will allways put it back. In adddition, it is not harmful and if you do manage to remove it you will most likely have issues in the future. The underscored(_) version is bad, though. As far as causing issue sin IE, that must be caused by something else as WoW isn't needed by IE. course, IE is IE, so ya never know whats wrong w/ it...   ZigZagJoe
Definatly bad. space before it gives it away.   tookarip
my system with XP as OS has become sudden slow, it took lot of time to open internet explorer, wondering why I opened the task manager and to my surprise I have seen this process which is active - ' wowexec.ece' with a space in the front.. And the memory its using says nothing(blank) without any number there? Is that a Virus?  
WOWEXEC.EXE is for a 16 bit apps it stays there now and then after you have closed a 16 bit app wait for you to start another dont ... you can close it if you wont but it is only a hart beat string   Darkknight
it blocks my IE!!!!!! it also introduces addresses when I search for a web page in the address bar.   Ali López
just noticed it today, but it is highly possible it popped up when i installed and ran a program designed to allow you to run an old DOS game in winxp. when you close ntvdm.exe it goes away along with it. it's not a virus/trojan, etc   gmsantashelper
its obvious soooo many people dont actually know what they are talking about "a space character before this file name is dangerous. it should be a virus/trojan. This will hack our system" above people have posted links to m$ft site where it tells about the space. So, this exe under most circumstances is fine. What gives me the shits is that it actually dont work :(   jdizzle
so far so good! not troubling my computer ,but it got funny virus like name   Sirius
John Steel Nailed this Issue with wowexec & ntvdm , If you are still concerned about your version check it against the copy In dllcache, be sure to show sys & hidden files or you wont be able to find dllcache   Bob O
"Windows On Windows" is supposed to be in the system 32 folder and is OK with blank space in front of it -- but not an underscore  See also: Link   Tom
starts with old games only: watch Task Manager while you open games, it only pops up when you start an old one; just close it in Task Mgr after playing.   zada
I know that it's important but it's a major nuisance neverthesless - I know when it starts running because my fans start screaming right away (I have a P4)- it doesn't seem to use any memory or cpu but it certainly does, it makes everything slow and heats the machine. When closed everything is back to normal.   F
if the process is preceded by a " " (space) it is ok, but if by an "_" (underscore) it's a trojan. That's the main idea going on in the net. SpyBot kill it or something   snc
This file is not dangerous if you have bothered to look in the official places. The file is a Microsoft program for running 16 bit applications in Windows XP. The indentation is there to show that it is a 16 bit program!  See also: Link   BartMan
From Microsoft.com : 16-bit programs run under the virtual DOS Machine (VDM). The program is indented under Ntvdm.exe. Additionally, a 16-bit Windows program has wowexec.exe indented with it. This is the Windows On Windows (WOW) emulator.  See also: Link   dlp
I noticed it sitting on task manager which is why I came to this forum in the first place. Having read the postings I closed it with no ill effects. I then started an old (13 years !) graphics program I still use sometimes and wowexec reappeared, together with the graphics prog, both inset one space. It does seem that it is indeed enabling 16 bit software to run in XP and the space is there for id purposes. Of course a harmful lookalike may also exist, but mine is clearly legit.   Richard SJ
Okay, if it's causing probs, just backup your non-system files onto an external hard drive and re-format the main drive. Otherwise, its a process used by Windows to play older games. Its used along with NTVDM.exe. Of course deleting will solve your problems, because its only bad to delete the legit version if you actually play older games - like I do (Diablo 2, anyone?). Deleting is okay, but not if you're living in past games.  
As stated before, this is a normal system process. The space before the name is supposed to be there. If there is an underscore or no space... then it is a trojan. I was contacted about this problem and asked to clear thing up here. all 16 bit application shell are indented to tell them from the 32 bit processes. You may delete this file if you have no plans on ever running a 16 bit process on your machine ever. Please do not spread malicious rumors about software that you have no idea about. If in doubt contact our customer service.   Microsoft Service Tech "Metalica11"
A perfectly harmless executable for running old games. A space in front of the image name is a simple notation used by Microsoft to highlight a special program. You could create the game ' UrSt00pidN00B.exe' and it would be perfectly fine. The space means NOTHING.   Some dude
the file " wowexec.exe" is a windows file for loading old 16 bit software such as from windows 3.1 era, i loaded an old power rangers video clip showcase cd that was lying around under a pile of cds and now ive started to see this " wowexec.exe" file, with a space in the front of its name. however the one that looks like this "_wowexec.exe" may be something bad going by what has been said here, if in doubt run a virus / spyware/adware scan on your win32 folder!   PV - I.T graduate
Its Funny, Everyone says DOS and win98 Is Dead, But If U had either one's Boot Disk And Added NTSF.sys to it you could boot with that disk then delete it..   DeadMouse
i dont run any games on my pc yet i found that process running when someone threatened to hack me, i thought that was kinda odd, i terminated the process manually and it didnt come back but i think if it is on your system it should be deleted. it may be necessary to run 16 bit apps but apparently it can also be a vulnerability.   Rich
It can be a very harmful trojan. It is hard to tell the difference. The space and other funny things about it such as no memory usage stats are used by Windows to mark it as being used for 16bit apps. There is a harmful version and a completly normal version. I believe I got it from a somewhat old program called electricsheep. You may have gotten in from some other program. If you have spyware related problems and cannot determine where it comes from it is most likely the culprit.   Equinox
A lot of bad info on this one. MS specifically references this file (several other have linked to this page here) and states that is necessary to run 16-bit applications. The space/indentation is a MS indicator to show that those are 16-bit apps. The space does not mean it is a trojan or harmful. There may be variations of this that are trojans but " wowexec.exe" (note the space) is not one of them.  
for support 16bits   wupei
The file is not dagerous. Just because it has a space in front of the name doesn't mean it is a virus. If you are unsure then you can copy it into another locations (My Documents for example) and add a ".txt" (without quotes) extention onto it. Then delete the original. If problems arise, load Safe Mode and delete the ".txt" extention on the coppid file and place back in your System32 folder. Also it is not a hacker to the idiot who said that. Learn something about hackers and crackers before you make false accusations!   majora2007
wowexec is only dangerous when preceded by an underscore. The space before it is supposed to be there to identify any 16-bit applications, Microsoft says so in this link (which is to a MICROSOFT site!)  See also: Link   Scott
It clogs up other programs from normal operation. I have seen people spend 5-10 minutes waiting for a program to switch phases and then when i closed this application - magically the program moved on easily. Definatly a bad program, or a good one that is very out dated.   Gil
I want to add something tooThe Maker of Wowexec is just a Newby Fat cat   KaSpRoTy
It belongs to microsoft 16 bit processes   Mr cheese
as far as I know microsoft lists it as a 16 bit deal as said from other people but mention about the space in front was left out,, so this is kinda up in the air for me  See also: Link   pantera251
I found " wowexec.exe" instead of "wowexec.exe", some special char before the name. It is not listed by the security task manager it seems to be some spyware. It reduces the internet performance badly. Be careful   yuvaraj
It is part of Windows 16-bit processes when used on WindowsXP or NT. It is indented for a reason. It is not a trojan or virus. Identify 16-bit Programs that are Running if any 16-bit programs are running, you see an entry for Ntvdm.exe, which is the virtual DOS machine that is provided by Windows XP. You also see wowexec.exe (the Windows on Windows subsystem), and the executable name of each 16-bit program that is running in that WOW virtual machine. As a helpful visual aid, wowexec.exe and the 16-bit executable file names are indented.  See also: Link   Allen Freeman Jr
The regular version of wowexec.exe poses no threat - it's a vital windows process. Sometimes, however, there are imposter processes (e.g. _wowexec.exe)   Chris
wowexec.exe showed up under my iexplore.exe process (without the _ before it, but with the space) while I was surfing microsoft support. It froze that explorer. I haven't ran any 16 bit programs. It disapearred when I rebooted. I revisted both those pages and it hasn't shown up again. *confused*   Jasmine Moon
the only time ive seen this process running is during a hack attempt  See also: Link   jonny
if it blocks your IE then it should be a virus(should be in system32 if not then then del it)...this file has nothing to do with interntr in my opinion!It starts when i try to play old games for example (colonization)if im finished then later end task and thats all!   wowexec.exe
it is definitly a kind of a virus or trojan, i couldnt delete it and even when i tried to control it with zonealarm it removes itself from the controled programs list(there is a space infront of this file)   1ta
This file is not dangerous. It pops up when you're messing with DOS / 16 bit programs. If you are unsure, search your computer for wowexec.exe . You will find one and ONLY one copy in X:\windows\system32\. It is 11kb. If you find another copy on your computer, it is more than possible that it is a trojan. It is also possible that a virus / spyware / malware on your computer is 16bit and therefore launches wowexec.exe .   Seth
I wana to remove it from my system   Koodun Jaabir
There may be spyware or viruses that will run this process, but most cases it will be legitimate. Per Microsoft, the space is normal in front of 16-bit apps. See attached link for more information  See also: Link   neonman12
It suddenly appeared when I ran an older version of Corel Word Perfect 6.1. It hangs up and WPWIN61 (a word perfect file) says it will not allow the task manager to run - so WOWEXEC.exe will not shut down then. I have to do a cold boot !   R.G.
I have this file on my laptop, and in the task manager it has a space in front of it. Nothing is slow, except when I boot up my computer or turn it on after hibernation and try to open the first browser window in that process time, it takes some time for IE or Firefox to load, but afterward, its fine.   Maximz2005
Look at the link it explains it all. Due to how microsoft have used a 16 bit layer for 32 bit they have indented anything that runs as 16 bit like wowexec.exe. so it is dangerous at all and people are getting freaked over 1 little space  See also: Link  
Go here: C:\WINDOWS\system32\wowexec.exe   Guymann
I performed a task over a year ago and all is still good   Soulvex
Found this link: WOWEXEC.EXE, Runs Win16 applications for Win32 applications.  See also: Link   kc
Do you use 16bit apps? Then keep the process, it's built into NT OSes. Oh, you do not use 16bit apps? Well then, i suppose you could delete it; or be safe & keep it in case you do decide to use 16bit apps . . .   brando
Ok i figured out how to check if it is indeed the 16 bit app or if it is the malicious version of the process. Click options in the Task Manager and click show 16-bit apps. If it dissapears then your ok if it doesn't than you need to take steps to irradicate it.   Equinox
I have the same problems, but normally WOWexec.exe isn't running until my computer starts making loud noises. Also, when I went into the task manager, I noticed it was flashing seconds before my computer rebooted itself! I don't think I have ever run any old games on it either.  
It says its mem usage = none and im unable to end process tree   ifalridin
slows down my computer, and makes games crash sometimes.. (?!)   coy
strangely enough i wasnt running any 16bit programs my computer detected a virus so i checked out my pc i noticed wowexec.exe in the memory process and doesnt show an allocation of memory, this isnt a good file so i deleted it, there should be memory for every process running even the small ones.   Eden
Read the links that have been provided and stop making ridiculous deductions..   sg
This program should have a space. For those of you who say you do not run any 16-bit programs there is something you should know. Many programs use 16-bit code for their installers. So even though you may not be running 16-bit programs the installation files may be 16-bit. Or you just may not realize you're running one. The wowexec.exe is supposed to be indented (have a space in front of it). I have read that there is a _wowexec.exe that is a virus. I also believe all 16-bit programs are indented in the task manager.  See also: Link   Dave
Process Name: Microsoft Windows on Windows 16bit Execution Process   nobody
Wowexec.exe is not a dangerous file.   Jeffrey
if you delete wowexec.exe file its created immidatlly  See also: Link   RoBiCeR
Process reports using 00% of processor, labelled " wowexec.exe" No reports as of yet whether or not it is causing problems with IE or other programs. Will repost with more info.   Darcy
If your're not running any old 16 bit apps, close the Ntvdm.exe first, and then close the wowexec.exe file in the task manager.   LJ
The space before it show that is part of a process tree. To find it, run a system search. I've never seen that icon before. What I'm wondering about is that even with it running in the background, Winjpeg, SCHDPlus, and MSMail (windows 95 or lower) won't work. WTF   computersavy
I can confirm its Blocks IE7   Random
OK, it DOES NOT block your IE. It may, however, be allowing a 16 bit prog to run that blocks your IE. Look for another process that is indented in the Task Mgr. This shows which 16 bit progs are running.   Longzoo
If you have a space before the name " wowexec.exe" it is spyware that will block funcions of IE and other programs. If it has no space "wowexec.exe" then it is a windows system file. Best thing to do is save all work and click end task and if it restarts your computer then it is ok, if it does nothing then it is the spyware version.   Joe Kuhlman
Even with a space it is fine. Running old games brings it up, so windows can run in 16 bit no worries   This is not a bad process
wowexec isnt spyware or malware and is included in windows. Its basically an emulator for 16bit applications. Older games for you computer retards that think it blocks IE. Its normal for wowexec to have space in task manager as it runs in conjunction with another program. If you guys didn't freak out and delete the file when you saw like some king of dumbass then you could probably figure that out.   Dave
It is part of Windows. Found in Windows/System32 and the dllcache. I agree with ZigZagJoe.   Frank Turscak
some people don't read before posting..anyways repeating what has been said to those who don't read, if it has a space before the name its fine, its not a virus or anything, just a program to help windows run 16bit stuff. if it has a underscore before the name then its a virus/whatever.   -.-""
its used for old 16 bit games  
this process is actived for a 16-bit programs, like database application (Dbase).   lues
Just for reference, ( Wowexec.exe) is a normal system file (see below), it is normal for it to have a 'space' before it. However, the _Wowexec.exe file (notice the underscore) is a trojan. Read up on stuff from Microsoft before claiming that something is a virus/trojan... Microsoft is still the best authority when it comes to Microsoft based products.  See also: Link   Dallas Crutchfield
Its a program used on XP to run older programs (16bit apps). If your running older programs, its safe. If not, kill it and check for trojan.   Mjj09
As previously stated file is harmless, spaces before file names are not an indicator of a virus and shouting ITS A WITCH BURN IT without actually investigating the issue will not change that fact. Read the half dozen links to microsoft knowledge base responses.  
The space does NOT mean its a virus, microsoft say it is supposed to be a "helpful visual aid" to indent the name under task manager.  See also: Link   Kaz
WOWEXEC.EXE is for a 16 bit apps! It is a MSFT file. Mostly used for old OS compatability. First noticed the file after installing Stock analysis software from AMERITRADE. It doesn't shut down after the app. that uses it does and appears to slow system performance   SumDude
wowexec is infact SUPPOSED TO HAVE A SPACE BEFORE ITS NAME when you view it in the taskmanager, anyone that has said, otherwise is an idiot, and does not understand how the process loader works, if the file itself has a space, then it is a trojan, but the process itself is supposed to have one   Danial
wowexec.exe itself is not dangerous. however, it may appear running in the presence of some other malicious software. when you do not have any 16-bit application running, and see that wowexec.exe is running, there is a high possibility that your pc is infected with virus (but it's not the wowexec.exe. just take it as an indicator)   shylah
the process destroys communications via msmqueue technology. Not every re-boot restarts it. Has null for virtual and normal ram usage... not 0.   Victor
( Space )wowexec.exe causes no harm . the ( _ )wowexec.exe is .   Zaptec
Utility that allows 16 bit programs to run on your 32 bit operating system.   Mark
it is also connected to bitzip an old file swapping system. seems to start when i start bitzip and ends when i end it dont run any other time.though it is a memory hog so if its running on your system try to run just the program its running at that time, or your system will slow dramatically.   blackice
for 16 bit games to run on 32 bit machines ,auto runs wen 16 bit game is launchd   northwestravers
I've seen this culprit on and off for 20 years, its rarily a harmful file. It is some kind of Stealth information gatherer, first I was told it was associated with AOL, then later Microsoft, it may be integral to running 16 bit applications but after finding it and killing it for years!, I've noticed you don't need it for ANYTHING, finding and destroying it is the hard part, it seems MS is in bed with a whole lot of people to install this and they have a special HOLE in your windows to allow it into your machine. Well thats my opinion.   Duftopia
I also keep my puter very clean, and just saw this file in task manager, I deleted it in Windows, and in Registry. There, it was in folder Search Assistant, which is Spyware, but doesn't seem to take any resourses.   octaves4
It is there to run 16-BIT applications under Windows NT, 2000 and XP. It is indented for identification perposes. Microsoft changed this with the invention of XP x64. x64 runs WOW64 (a newer version). This is used to run 32bit apps. Now in the new version, the file instead of being indented is something like; wmplayer.exe*32   Paul
is part of windows but can be seduced maybe by virus  See also: Link   Tampul
Ok... WOWEXEC.exe and NTVDM.exe are Necessary. Yes, I am running a 16bit app on XP. (Bill gates please forgive me, haven't found any fancy windows app that works as well as our old faithful DOS friend) Question is, how do you prevent it (NTVDM.exe) from maxing out theCPU processing time  
When a program stops responding, I often find wowexec.exe running when I check processes in task manager. When I was running McAfee virus protection, I rarely got it. I recently switched to Windows Live One Care, and now I'm getting it very often.   Denny
" wowexec.exe", with the blank space before the name, along with "ntvdm.exe", is required for the playing of some very old games such as Tetris for Windows 3.1 (I still use it). Ignore anyone who suggests the blank space means it's a virus. However, I'm not sure about when it's an underscore: "_wowexec.exe".   Matthew
This appeared after my pc was infected with a virus downloaded from skype, it directs IE to a site called listenmusic.fm which seems to be platformed on wow which, if you follow the IP addy is actually is APACHE. The virus sends out links such as "check it :s http//friendshares.org/video989" in instant message programs such as skype and messenger   Shane
I noticed the appearance of this exe after runing www.4allmemory.com's memory finder. It is too immmediate that this shows up for this to be coincidence. This is a terrible diagnostic tool, and I don't recccomend its use because ultimately it couldn't even tell me what I am using, or what I should put in. DONT USE THE TOOL from their site. It seems at least capricious in nature, if not pernicious.   Scott
wowexec.exe is installed on a system to track software on your system by ISP legals   loyal user
Users above have noted that wowexec.exe and ntvdm.exe work together to run 16-bit files. True enough, the only time I saw it was when I loaded a 1996 music CD that came ith a menu and extras.   Xarlan
i know this i run older kids games on my pc for the kids to play and since i use a pc i have read everything i need for the last few years.  
This file is needed to run or install 16 bit apps on 32 bit systems. Now to the real question... This process, when not working right, does not show any memory allocated to it... Why?   Joel Mercado, Cola, SC
"The vulnerability resides in a feature known as the Virtual DOS Machine, which Microsoft introduced in 1993 with Windows NT, according to this writeup penned by Tavis Ormandy of Google. Using code written for the VDM, an unprivileged user can inject code of his choosing directly into the system's kernel, making it possible to make changes to highly sensitive parts of the operating system."  See also: Link   flink
I have this process after downloading esheep which is rather old, I agree with Matthew   Thomas
I think it comes with games where your disply properties are being reduced because of low system resources, then your graphics work on 16 bit mode.I had this process when I used to play Max Payne . I think it came because my laptop has only 512 MB of Ram and cannot support hight resolution display with 945 adapter, so, game starts in 800x 600 mode with 16 bit colors .   ravi
I started noticing the WOWEXEC error when shutting down PC, after I had installed old Win 95 & 98 programs on my XP. So I guess that makes me the culprit.   André
runs everytime I open calculator which is apparently a 16bit application and needs wowexec and ntvdm to run.   Old calculator
I got it when I installed an open source game... like others said, pre-windows 95 emulation. Relax if you have the "no-space" version.   Chill.
It's used for running 16-bit or DOS programs in Win32 environment. It's just useful, not dangerous at all.   Platinum
Quickbook's timer for recording your hours uses it. If it crashes (tone through speakers) you can end process in the Task Manager without a restart. Let you run Timer again too. 16 bit app.   coconutsaregood
This work for me "This is a file that works with ntvdm to handle 16-bit calls from older programs. If you want it out ofmemory, stop the ntvdm process(es) that are active."   Greg
This is the 16-bit loader. When launched it WILL have a space before it -- this is normal (contrary to what several other commentors have stated).   LD
if the process " wowexec.exe" in task manager has one space before the name it would be dangerous trojan and it must be dealt with immedialtly otherwise its ok   Fred
It help to work 16 bit process like game. Its not a Threat to computer. The threat is "_wowexec.exe" If u have a underscore or any other symbol before your file name, its a threat to you computer.   HE777
wowexec.exe is not a dangerious file it doesn't contain any memory . so leave it.   Man45
It appeared for the first time on my computer when Firefox updated to version 17.0   Mike
i believe this process is related to the emulation of drives, but seeing as it utterly consumes your Internet connection its wise to simply end it (taskmanager)   He-man
It's clean. Apparently it came on while running an installer for Star Trek: Starfleet Command. It runs 16-bit .EXEs on a 32-bit computer.   ZKtheMAN
This is false statement: You can identify the trojan as it has a space before the name, which may be because it is attaching itself to another process. This program enables Managing Your Money (accounting) software from the late 1980's, produced by Andrews Tobias, et al.  See also: Link   Bo
Runs 16bit apps (MS-DOS apps) on a 32/64 bit OS.  
Back in 1997, I wrote a small alarm clock app for my own PC desktop, using Delphi 16-bit programming language. Fast-forward more than 15 years, and I still use that program in a 32-bit environment. Windows uses the "Window on Window" exe to make sure my 16-bit alarm clock runs properly on 32-bit Windows. It does not consume a large amount of CPU time, and it does not slow down my PC. In my case, this is a safe windows executable.   msidoh

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