Windows has dozen of processes running in the background and you can see them in Task Manager. One of them is the Client Server Runtime Process (CSRSS) and it is an integral part of the Windows operating system.
Sometimes the CSRSS can be a cause for concern that you think it is a good idea to turn it off. However, there are a couple of things that you need to know before trying to kill it.
What is the client-server runtime process?
The client-server runtime process doesn’t do much these days, but was responsible for managing the entire graphical subsystem during the Windows NT 3.x era. Part of his operation involved managing windows and drawing things like window frames and menus on the screen.
When Microsoft released Windows NT 4 in 1996, it removed much of the graphical operations from CSRSS. This was done to improve the visual performance of the operating system. Since Windows 7, the process has only been responsible for handling the console and shutting down the graphical user interface (GUI).
CSRSS is a process that runs during Windows startup – it can no longer run afterwards. So if something unexpected happens and it doesn’t start, then most likely you will get the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSoD).
To view the process, right-click the Taskbar and choose Task manager .
Choose Processes Tab and scroll down until you see Client-server runtime process .
Is it okay to disable the client-server runtime process?
It is natural to want to kill a process if you want to improve performance or if it is causing problems, but CSRSS is one of those processes that you never want to kill. It’s such a critical system function that the operating system won’t let you kill it at random, making it virtually unskillable.
You can try killing the client-server runtime process by running it in the Task manager and click on End task Button at the bottom right. You will receive a warning letting you know that continuing will make Windows unstable or will shut down.
You can decide to continue by ticking the box next to Give up unsaved data and shut down Check box, and then click the Switch off Button. However, you will be greeted by another warning telling you that Windows was unable to complete the process and is denying you access.
Why are two instances of CSRSS running at the same time?
If you find that two instances of Client Server Runtime are running at the same time, don’t panic. When some people see this they usually assume it is a virus. It is completely normal for more than one of these processes to be active in Task Manager without any of them being malware.
If you suspect any of the processes are illegitimate, there is an easy way to check it out. The executable file for the actual client-server runtime process is located in the following location: Local hard drive (C)> Windows> System32 . All authentic instances of this process come from the System32 folder.
Click to verify Client-server runtime process by doing Task manager and choose Open file location . Windows will direct you to the System32 Folder with csrss.exe chosen, which means the process is legitimate.
If the redirect takes you elsewhere, it is likely that a Trojan has infected your system. To get rid of the trojan, open your antivirus software (make sure it is up to date) and run a full system scan. The program detects and removes all harmful software from your system, such as viruses, Trojans, worms and spyware.
Fixing CSRSS.exe High CPU and Memory Usage
Since the client-server runtime process isn’t responsible for much, it shouldn’t noticeably affect your computer’s performance. However, some people report that the process can suddenly use up a large chunk of their CPU and memory. In the best case it can make the PC sluggish and in the worst case the system can crash.
When CSRSS misbehaves by using system resources, it is usually due to two reasons: a malware infection or a corrupted user profile.
If it is a malware infection
As mentioned in the previous section, a simple full system scan can remove the malicious program that is affecting the client-server runtime process. For this reason, it is a good idea to run a full system scan at least once a week as a preventive measure.
If it is a damaged user profile
Once you’ve ruled out malware, the second most likely cause is a corrupted user profile. Unfortunately there is no way to decrypt it which means you will have to create a new account and delete the old one.
Before proceeding, transfer any important files to a flash drive or external hard drive for a backup. You can even get one 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 a different profile on your PC).
Go to Start> Settings> Family & Other Users and click on Add someone else to this PC .
Windows prompts you for how the person signs in. click on I don’t have that person’s credentials.
Now you can create a new account. Click on Add a user without a Microsoft account.
Enter the name of the new user, create a password and fill out the security questions. Then click on that Next Button to finish setting up the new account.
Now log out of your old account and log into the new one. Navigate to Family and other users . Click your old account to expand the options and click Removed .
Then click on that Delete account and data Button to completely remove the profile from the system.
Client-server runtime process demystified
If you’re not a Windows enthusiast, nobody can blame you for not knowing what CSRSS is. Not only is it another background process, it’s also vital to the running of Windows. You can’t disable the process even if it is causing problems (Microsoft made that happen).
But knowing what the client-server runtime process is, and how to fix the common problems associated with it, will take you one step closer to being your guru in handling Windows processes.