COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working – How to Fix It

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While using your Windows based system, it’s not uncommon for you to encounter various issues and errors that may not be directly related to the operating system but third party applications, drivers and devices connected to it.

One error you might have encountered (if you are on this page) is the COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working, on your Windows based system.

So what is this error, why does it occur, and what can you do to fix it? Well, there are a number of things that one can do to, possibly fix this issue, with trial and error being a very common approach to tackling this particular error.

With that said, I will be covering a number of the more common solutions for repairing the COM surrogate has stopped working error.

What Causes The COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working Issue?

The COM surrogate is a process that runs in the background of your operating system, that you are likely unaware of, until it crashes. Problems related to the COM surrogate are usually caused by codec’s or other COM components, which may have been installed by third party applications, such as Nero and DivX.

Faulty device drivers and hard drive corruption are also capable of causing this error, so there are many causes, and equally as many solutions.

Symptoms of This Error

While using your Windows based system, you may encounter an error message while attempting to right click on a particular folder (usually My Computer). The error message may appear something like:

Assertion Failed

Program: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\DllHost.exe

It you cancel the error dialog box; it will disappear, but will continuously reappear, every time you attempt the same action. This error message may also occur when you attempt to access Desktop Properties or when accessing Control Panel.

However, people most report encountering this error, when attempting to open pictures, using the built-in picture viewer.

How to Fix It

There are so many things that you can do to rectify this problem, however, the right solution for you, will depend greatly on the actual cause of the error. The installation of DivX and Nero tend to be the biggest culprits for this error, with that said; there are still many other solutions for you to be cognizant of.

To follow are a number of the more popular methods that have proven successful at fixing this error.

Update Codecs

If you experienced the COM surrogate had stopped working issue, when attempting to view pictures or watch video, then the error is likely due to an installed codec. If you like to copy and rip a lot of stuff, then it’s likely you’ll have ffdshow and various other codec’s installed on your computer.

Thus, you should look at manually updating these codec’s installed on your computer, including the ffdshow. You should be able to find the latest codec pack, by running a search on any of the major search engines.

If you have either Nero of DivX installed on your system you should also go ahead and update them too.

There are a couple of third party programs, such as Adobe CSX and Nero that are known to cause DllHost.exe errors. If you recently installed any of these programs on your computer, then you should immediately uninstall them, and restart your system.

Note: This issue tends to be far more prevalent on 64-bit based operating systems; the result of poorly written applications, which can lead to a multitude of problems. So go ahead and download the latest version of the application.

For those individuals that are unsure which application is causing the error, they can use Reliability Monitor (in Windows 7) to help them. To access this tool, simply do the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with administrative rights.

2. Once in, click on Start, type Reliability Monitor (into the Search programs and files box) and press Enter.

Type Reliability Monitor and press Enter

3. Once Reliability Monitor loads up, click on View all problem reports.

Locate and click on View all problem reports

4. From here, find the report that has COM Surrogate in the source, then right click on it and select View Technical Details.

Find report related to COM Surrogate

5. In the Technical Details page, it will state which application caused the error under Fault Module Name.

Check Fault Module Name for program causing error

Add an Exception to DEP

Another method that has proven quite effective at fixing this problem involves adding an exception to the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) for the DllHost.exe file. To do this, simply follow the instructions below:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then click on Start, right click on My Computer [Windows Vista/7: Computer] and select Properties.

My Computer => Properties

3. On Windows Vista/7 click on Advanced system settings.

Click on Advanced System Settings

4. From the System Properties applet, click on the Advanced Tab, and then click on the Settings button under Performance.

Advanced -> Performance -> Settings

5. On the Performance Options applet, click on the Data Execution Prevention Tab, and then click on Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select. Lastly click on the Add button.

Select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select

6. Then locate the DllHost.exe file from here:

32-bit OS


64-bit OS


Once you’ve found it, click on Open.

Open dllhost.exe

Note: A warning notification box may appear, be sure to click on OK, to bypass it.

On Warning Select OK

7. Lastly click on OK, to apply the new settings.

Apply Settings by Selecting OK

Rollback Recently Installed Drivers

If the COM surrogate has stopped working issue, started to appear, right after you installed some new drivers for a hardware device, then you should consider rolling those drivers back. You can do this, by doing the following:

1. First, log into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then click on Start -> Run, type devmgmt.msc and click on OK [Windows Vista/7: Start -> Type devmgmt.msc (into the Search programs and files box) and Press Enter].

Open Device Manager

3. Once Device Manager loads up, click on the + symbol next to the device type, then double click on the Device you recently installed drivers for.

Access Device Properties

4. The will bring up the Device Properties applet, from here, click on the Drivers Tab, and then click on Roll Back Driver.

Select Roll Back Driver under Drivers

Disable Thumbnail Previews

If you experience this issue, when viewing images, then you should consider disabling thumbnail previews.

Note: The obvious trade-off for this fix is your inability to view previews for your thumbnails.

Anyway, to do this, simply do the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then click on Start -> My Computer [Windows Vista/7: Computer].

Start -> My Computer

3. Once My Computer loads up, click on Tools -> Folder Options [Windows Vista/7: Organize -> Folder and search options].

Organize -> Folder and search options

4. Once Folder Options loads up, click on the View Tab, then tick the box next to Always show icons, never thumbnails, and click on OK.

Select Always show icons, never thumbnails Options

Re-register DLL Files

The re-registering of specific important DLL files has been known to fix a whole host of DLL-related errors. Because this particular issue is related to the DllHost.exe file, you may want to give this option a try. Anyway, you can do it, by doing the following:

1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.

2. Then click on Start -> Run, type cmd and click on OK [Windows Vista/7: Start -> Type cmd (into the Search programs and files box) and Press CTRL + Shift + Enter, then click on OK].

Open Command Prompt

3. Once Command Prompt loads up, type regsvr32 vbscript.dll followed by Enter, then type regsvr32 jscript.dll and press Enter.

Type dll commands

This will tell the operating system to reregister those important DLL files.

Run Check Disk

If this error only occurs on a particular drive, such as an external memory stick, then there is a chance that the error could be due to bad sectors. In which case, I’d recommend that you run check disk, which is a tool that will scan, locate and repair those damaged sectors on your drive. To run this tool, I recommend you check out my post on fixing data error cyclic redundancy checks.

Additionally, if you would like more information on tackling this solution, I recommend you check out my tutorial on how to fix bad sectors.

Update Kaspersky

This solution is only applicable if you have Kaspersky antivirus running on your computer. In the event that you do, there is a good chance that the application is causing the error. Thus, you should look into ensuring that it’s up-to-date.

Alternatively, you could look at using difference security software on your computer. For those interested in such an option, I recommend you check out my post on the best antivirus tools.

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