You browse to a drive or folder in a Vista system or later and all of a sudden, you see the following error: COM Surrogate has stopped working.

com surrogate

What is a COM Surrogate?

The COM Surrogate or dllhost.exe, is a background executable host process. When you're navigating through a folder, thumbnails generate for file previews. It is also tied in with the Windows Photo Viewer.

COM Surrogate Fixes

Possible culprits that produce this error include:

  1. You're running old codecs. Update your ffdshow codec packs, Vista, or 7 codec packs
  2. Uninstall any codecs you don't use or are causing problems. The program MMCompView is an invaluable tool for this.
  3. You're running an out of date DivX. Update to the latest version.
  4. You're running an out of date Nero. Update to the latest version.

If you can't update any of your applications or you still experience the same error you can turn off Data Execution Prevention on the COM surrogate, dllhost.

  1. Right click Computer
  2. Select Properties
  3. Click Advanced System Settings
  4. Under the Advanced tab, select Settings…
  5. Select Data Execution Prevention tab
  6. Click the radio selector for “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:”
  7. Click Add button
  8. Browse to C:\Windows\System32\dllhost.exe for 32 bit or C:\Windows\SysWOW64\dllhost.exe for 64 bit.

There you go. That's how to fix the COM Surrogate has stopped working error.

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