winlogon.exe is an essential process of Windows operating system. It is responsible for handling different important tasks running in background for the security of Windows operating system.
winlogon.exe is responsible for keeping a watch on security and loading user profiles. Therefore, whenever you logon to the PC, winlogon.exe will load your user profile according to the security rights assigned to it.
It also monitors the activity performed by keyboard and mouse of your PC, and is also responsible for locking your system and initiating screensaver when it becomes idle.
winlogon.exe has a special watch on a key combination i.e. Ctrl+Alt+Del which is also known as ‘secure attention key’ used during system login. Most of you may also have noticed that before signing in to your system you have to press Ctrl+Alt+Del. It is because of the winlogon.exe process which directly interacts with the hardware and detects that this key combination is pressed. This also ensures a trusted logon process in which other programs cannot monitor your password during logon.
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Can it Harm the System?
No, it never harms the computer, as it is a genuine system process which can be found in C:\Windows\System32 directory. However, if you find this file in some other location with same name, then it could be a matter of concern. To confirm the location of winlogon.exe file you have to first start Windows Task Manager by holding Ctrl+Shift+Esc. and then look out for the winlogon process. Once located, right click on the process and click on Open File Location, it will take you to the directory which contains this file.
If you find a location other than C:\Windows\System32, then it can be warning sign, as this may be a virus or malware. Also, if someone tells you to forcibly end this process running from genuine directory, then just ignore it as it can be a malicious deception.
What If It Is Disabled?
As it is an important process of Windows, you must not disable it. Also, it only requires very small amount of resources in background.
If you forcibly try to kill this process using Task Manager, then it will give a warning message like ‘If you end a system process, it might result in an unstable system’
However, if you still try to forcibly end this process then your system may stop responding. The only way to use your system again is to restart it. Again, it is not advisable to end this process, as it is crucial part of Windows which must be running all the time.
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We hope we were able to explain the importance of winlogon.exe as an integral process which is related to system login and security.