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Client/Server Runtime Subsystem, or csrss.exe, is a component of the Microsoft Windows NT operating system. It provides the user mode side of the Win32 subsystem and is included in Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008 and 7. Because most of the Win32 subsystem operations have been moved to kernel mode drivers, in Windows NT 4 and later CSRSS is mainly responsible for Win32 console windows, GUI shutdown, and threading. It is critical to system operation, therefore terminating this process will result in a Blue Screen of Death. Under normal circumstances, CSRSS cannot be terminated with the taskkill command or with Windows Task Manager, though it is possible in Vista if the Task Manager is run in Administrator mode.

The Windows NT 3.x series of releases had placed the Graphics Device Interface component in CSRSS, but this was moved into kernel mode with Windows NT 4.0 to improve graphics performance.[1]

Viruses, spyware, and trojans are known to infect or disguise themselves as this process. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Nimda.E [2]
  • W32/Netsky.ab@MM [3]

See also

References

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