How to Fix COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working on Windows 10, 8, and 7

Troubleshooting dlllhost.exe issues

A 'COM Surrogate has stopped working' or 'DLL host not responding' error is a weird and frustrating one to come across. COM Surrogate errors aren't catastrophic, but if these errors occur often enough, it can be disruptive.

How to fix the COM surrogate problem depends on the operating system, but we walk you through it, whether you have Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7.

What is COM Surrogate?

COM Surrogate is a catchall name for processes called dllhost.exe that separates Windows Explorer from individual DLL hosts that have the potential to crash. In particular, DLLs that deal with media thumbnails. There are many others, but that's one of the most common.

Com Surrogate in Task Manager

COM Surrogate makes it so that if any of those DLL files crash, the files don't crash the entire Windows Explorer. Think of it as a first line of defense for system stability.

What Causes COM Surrogate to Stop Working?

The 'COM Surrogate has stopped working' error doesn't appear to stop you from doing much. However, its interruption can be irritating, and it's not often obvious what caused the problem.

Nailing down the precise cause of why a DLL host isn't responding isn't always easy. There are a few ways it can go wrong. The most typical being there has been some corruption in a codec that allows the thumbnails of certain media to display. In other cases, a corrupted display driver can be the cause of errors on a storage drive.

In some niche cases, there have been reports of specific applications, like Adobe Photoshop and Nero disk burner, causing COM Surrogate to stop working. That's less likely, and we advocate some of the more general fixes below before pointing the finger at any particular application. If you recently installed a new app and experience an error, rolling back to before you installed it can be a good first step.

Fix COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working in Windows 10

Without an apparent cause for COM Surrogate errors, it's often good to try some general fixes that can fix an array of problems first. After any of the following fixes, reboot your system and repeat the steps to trigger the COM Surrogate problem. If all is well, it shouldn't appear again.

These steps are designed to work with Windows 10. These are also applicable to Windows 8.1 and 7; however, the methods for getting there might be slightly different.

  1. Run an antivirus scan. It's probably not a malware problem, but it's always a good idea to run an antivirus scan if you have an issue with your Windows PC.

  2. Update graphics drivers. A dodgy display driver can be the reason for COM Surrogate has stopped working errors. Removing the existing one and installing an updated version (or an older one confirmed to work) can be a good place to start to fix DLL host not responding problems.

    To be sure you removed everything to do with the graphics drivers, download and run Display Driver Uninstaller. It's a little more involved, but the steps are self-explanatory, and the wizard walks you through the process.

    If this doesn't fix the error and you think updating to a recent driver may have caused it, download an older driver you know works and install that instead.

  3. Check for disk errors. Problems with a storage drive can be the cause of DLL host errors, so giving it a once over is a good idea if you encounter that problem.

  4. Add a DEP Exception. Data Execution Prevention, or DEP, is a Windows security tool that prevents unrecognized scripts from loading into reserved memory. An overzealous DEP might prevent COM Surrogate from running correctly. To fix that, add it to the DEP exception list.