Fix: COM Surrogate has stopped working (dllhost.exe)

Many Windows (7, 8, and 10) users report an error message – “COM Surrogate has stopped working” – while browsing video or media file folders or attempting to print. COM Surrogate is the executable host process (dllhost.exe) running in the background during file and folder navigation. It allows thumbnail viewing, and when it crashes, the error message appears. This issue can also occur due to corrupt media-viewing codecs. This guide provides steps to hopefully resolve the issue.

Method 1: Revert to the Previous Display Adapter Driver

To process this, press and hold the Windows key, then press R. Type “hdwwiz.cpl” into the run dialog and click OK. In the Device Manager, scroll to the Display Adapters section. Right-click and select Properties. Choose Roll Back Driver and follow the on-screen instructions. If the option is grayed out, proceed with the methods below.


Method 2: Add dllhost.exe to the DEP Exception List.

  1. Navigate to Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Performance Settings > Data Execution Prevention.
  2. Please select “Enable DEP for all programs and services except those I choose”.
  3. Click on “Add” and navigate to C:\Windows\System32\dllhost.exe for 32-bit Windows machines. For 64-bit machines, add C:\Windows\SysWOW64\dllhost.exe.
  4. After adding dllhost.exe to the exception list, apply changes by clicking ‘OK‘.


Method 3: Re-register DLLs.

Execute the given commands in an elevated command prompt. Click Start, type ‘cmd‘, right-click the ‘cmd‘ program from the search results, and choose Run as Administrator.


In the Command Prompt window, type each of the following commands, pressing Enter after each one:

regsvr32 vbscript.dll
regsvr32 jscript.dll


Method 4: Check Disk for Errors

If this error occurs when opening files saved on a drive other than C:\, check that drive for errors. If there are no additional drives, check the C:\ drive.

Press the Windows Key + E. For Windows 7/Vista, the drives will be listed. For Windows 8/10, select ‘This PC‘ from the left pane to view the drives. Right-click on the hard drive you wish to check and select ‘Properties‘.


Click the ‘Tools‘ tab at the top, then ‘Check Now‘ under ‘Error-Checking.’


Check both the options and click ‘Start‘.

Method 5: Update Codecs

Another way to resolve this error is by updating all Windows (7, 8, 10) codecs to their latest versions. Download and install the latest Windows Codec Pack from the provided link.

Windows 7 Codec Pack:

Codec Pack for Windows 8 and 10:

Method 6: Reset Internet Explorer

The issue may also arise from corrupt cached files. In such cases, resetting Internet Explorer (IE) would be beneficial. Press and hold the Windows key and R, then type “inetcpl.cpl” in the run dialog and click OK. Go to the Advanced tab and select Reset. Check the box against Delete Personal Settings and hit Reset again. Upon completion, reboot the PC and test.

Method 7: Uninstalling EaseUS Data Recovery.

In some instances, the EaseUS Data Recovery application reportedly interfered with critical elements of the COM Surrogate process, causing issues. Thus, you should uninstall the application and see if the problem continues. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press “Windows” + “I” keys together to open settings.
  2. Click on ‘Apps’ and select ‘Apps & Features’ from the left pane.
    Clicking on Apps & Features
  3. Scroll down, click on ‘EaseUS Data Recovery,’ and select ‘Uninstall’.
    Clicking on Uninstall
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to fully uninstall it from your computer.
  5. Check if the issue persists.

Method 8: Perform Clean Boot.

In some instances, a clean boot may resolve the issue by preventing third-party applications from launching. Verify whether this error arises during a clean boot; if it doesn’t, a third-party app is likely causing it. Test by enabling apps individually to identify the culprit. Once identified, consider uninstalling the app or seeking a solution that fixes the error.

Note: Try disabling the Thumbnail Preview to see if it resolves the issue.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.