What Is the wmiprvse.exe Process and What Does It Do?

Learn about this Windows Task Manager process

If you've noticed the wmiprvse.exe process running in Task Manager, you have nothing to fear. The wmiprvse.exe process is the WMI Provider host. It's a part of what's known as the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) component within Microsoft Windows.

It's normally used on desktop systems connected to a corporate network so the IT department can pull information about that desktop, or create monitoring tools that alerts IT when there's something wrong with that computer.

What Is the wmiprvse.exe Process

The wmiprvse.exe process is a process that runs alongside the WMI core process, WinMgmt.exe.

Wmiprvse.exe is a normal Windows OS file that's located in %systemroot%\Windows\System32\Wbem. If you find and right-click the file, then select Properties, on the details tab you'll see that the file name is: "WMI Provider Host."

Screenshot of WMI Provider Host file properties

The Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) provider host allows all of the management services that manages all of the applications on your system to work properly.

These management services process various things such as application or system errors, and IT managers can communicate with the WMI to find or set information about every part of the computer.

The Microsoft Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) System

Wmiprvse.exe and WMI is part of the Microsoft Web-Based Enterprise Management System (WBEM) which is made up of several components including the Common Information Model (CIM), and the System Center Operations Manger (SCOM).

What these components do:

  • SCOM: Manages security, network processes, system diagnostics, and performance monitoring.
  • CIM: This model standardizes all of the system elements managed by IT, so that information can be polled or managed from any computer using the same command syntax.

This entire system provides powerful tools for IT systems analysts and network managers to monitor and manage thousands of assets throughout an entire enterprise.

What the WMI Provider Does

The WMI Provider services that run on computers in an enterprise environment open up a whole variety of commands that IT analysts can run on remote computers to gather or set information on any other computer on the network.

A few interesting WMIC commands IT analysts can run include:

  • Checking, creating, or editing environment variables.
  • See a list of running processes on the computer.
  • Find the MAC address and serial number of the computer.
  • Check the total memory and memory usage.
  • See all running processes and terminate any you like.

You can run these same commands on your own system using the Windows command prompt if you want to quickly check your own system stats.

Screenshot of running WMIC commands

Common wmiprvse.exe Malware

If you're seeing any error messages related to the wmiprvse.exe process, your system could be infected with malware.

Since wmiprvse.exe is a common Windows operating system component, malware creators often give their own executable file the same or similar name. There are a few known malware applications that use the wmiprvse.exe process as a target:

  • The Sasser worm uses the file name wmiprvsw.exe.
  • The W32/Sonebot-B virus uses the name wmiprvse.exe

You should never stop the wmiprvse.exe process since it's a core Windows system process and stopping it could cause problems with your other applications.

If you spot the wmiprvse.exe file located in any other directory than %systemroot%\Windows\System32\Wbem, it's likely that file is malware. In this case, you should run a full antivirus scan on your system.