What is the client-server execution process? Is it important?


Windows has dozens of processes running in the background, and you can see them in Task Manager. One of them is the Client-Server Execution Process (CSRSS), and it is an integral part of the Windows operating system.

Sometimes CSRSS can cause concern, making you think that turning it off is a good idea. However, there are a few things you should know before trying to kill him.

What is the client-server execution process?

The client-to-server runtime process doesn’t do much these days, but it was responsible for managing the entire graphics subsystem in the days of Windows NT 3.x. Part of its operation included managing windows and drawing on-screen items like window frames and menus.

When Microsoft released Windows NT 4 in 1996, it removed the majority of graphics operations from CSRSS. It did this to improve the visual performance of the operating system. Since Windows 7, the process is only responsible for managing the console and closing the graphical user interface (GUI).

CSRSS is a process that begins to run when Windows starts up – it cannot run after. So if something unexpected happens and it fails to launch, you are likely to get the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSoD).

Related: Tips To Help You Fix Windows 10 Blue Screen Error

To view the process, right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.

Opening Task Manager from the taskbar

Select the Process tab and scroll until you see Client-server execution process.


Is it correct to disable the client server execution process?

It’s natural to want to kill a process when you want to improve performance or when it is causing problems, but CSRSS is one of those processes that you never want to kill. This is such a critical system function that the operating system won’t let you terminate it at random, making it virtually impossible to kill.

You can try to end the execution process of the client server by selecting it in the Task Manager and clicking on the Final task button at the bottom right. You will receive a warning telling you that the procedure will make Windows unstable or shut down.

warning-task manager

You can decide to continue by checking the box Discard unsaved data and close checkbox, then clicking on the To close button. However, you will be greeted with another warning telling you that Windows could not complete the operation and is denying you access.

task manager-access-denied

If you notice that two instances of Client Server Runtime are running simultaneously, don’t panic. When some people see this, they usually assume it is a virus. It is perfectly normal to have more than one of these processes running in Task Manager without any of them being malware.

If you think any of the processes are not legitimate, there is an easy way to check it. The actual client-server runtime process executable file is located in the following location: Local Disk (C)> Windows> System32. All genuine instances of this process come from the System32 folder.

To verify, click on the Client-server execution process in the Task Manager and select Open file location. Windows will redirect you to the System32 folder with csrss.exe chosen, which means the process is legitimate.

system32 folder

If the redirect takes you somewhere else, a Trojan horse has probably infected your system. To get rid of the Trojan, open your antivirus software (make sure it’s up to date) and run a full system scan. The program will identify and remove all malware from your system, such as viruses, Trojans, worms, and spyware.

Related: The Best Antivirus Software For Windows 10

Fix high CPU and memory usage of CSRSS.exe

Since the client server runtime process isn’t responsible for much, it shouldn’t have a noticeable impact on your computer’s performance. However, some people report that the process can suddenly start using up a lot of their CPU and memory. At best, it can slow down the PC, and at worst, the system can crash.

When CSRSS behaves badly by hogging system resources, there are usually two reasons for it: malware infection or corrupt user profile.

When it comes to malware infection

As mentioned in the previous section, a simple full system scan can remove the harmful program affecting the client-server execution process. Therefore, as a preventive measure, it is advisable to perform a full system scan at least once a week.

When it comes to a corrupted user profile

If you’ve ruled out malware, the second most likely cause is a corrupted user profile. Unfortunately, there is no way to corrupt it, which means you have to create a new account and delete the old one.

Before proceeding, transfer all important files to a flash drive or external hard drive to create a backup. You can even create a cloud backup if you don’t want to use physical storage devices.

To delete your old user profile on Windows 10, create a new user account (skip this step if you already have another profile on your PC).

Go to Start> Settings> Family and other users and click on Add someone else to this PC.

Adding a new user profile

Windows will ask you to enter how the person will connect. Click on I don’t have that person’s login information.

Entering new user login information

You can now create a new account. Click on Add a user without a Microsoft account.

Creation of a new user profile

Enter the name of the new user, create a password and complete the security questions. Then click on the Next button to finish setting up the new account.

Creation of login information for the new user.

Now log out of your old account and log in to the new one. Move towards Family and other users. Click on your old account to expand the options and click To delete.

Deleting the old user profile

Then click on the Delete account and data to completely remove the profile from the system.

Deletion of old account and data

Client-server execution process demystified

If you are not a Windows enthusiast, no one can fault you for not knowing what CSRSS is. Beyond being just another background process, it’s essential for Windows to run. You cannot disable the process, even if it is causing problems (Microsoft has made sure of this).

But knowing what the client-to-server execution process is and how to troubleshoot common issues associated with it brings you closer to being a Windows process management guru.


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