Resolve Ekrn.exe High CPU Usage Issue

Ekrn.exe – What is it?

The ekrn.exe file is an important component of ESET products, such as ESET NOD32 Antivirus and the ESET Smart Security Suite Kernel Service. The main function of this file is to send and receive data on behalf of ESET security programs. The ekrn.exe process also scans any files that you download, update, open, or save.

Is it safe to terminate ekrn.exe?

As ekrn.exe is the central component of ESET products, such as ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security Suite, it is recommended that you do not terminate this product. If you terminate the ekrn.exe process, the application will disconnect you from the Internet.

Ekrn.exe – high CPU usage issue

Although an important component of ESET products, one drawback of the ekrn.exe process is that it uses a lot of CPU resources when running. As you can guess, this seriously affects the performance of the computer that has ESET NOD32 Antivirus or ESET Smart Security Suite Kernel Service installed.

If you find that ekrn.exe is constantly consuming huge amounts of CPU resources, then you can use either of the following methods to fix the issue:

Method 1 – Update the ESET product

To update your ESET product, visit the ESET website and download any new updates available for the software.

Method 2 – Disable real-time protection

You can also resolve ekrn.exe high CPU usage issues by disabling the real-time system protection in NOD32. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Double-click icon of NOD32 product installed on your computer.
  2. Next, press F5.
  3. In Real-Time File System Protection, under Scan on, clear the following checkboxes:
    • File Open
    • File Creation
    • Diskette Access

Method 3 – Update your Comodo Firewall version

In case you use Windows Vista and have Comodo Firewall version 3.014 installed on the system, then you may encounter problems with your ESET product. To fix the error, update your Comodo Firewall to version 3.015.

Ekrn.exe – Is it a safe file

The genuine ekrn.exe file is a safe file that belongs to ESET software. However, some malware variants are known to disguise themselves as ekrn.exe.

It is important that you ensure that the ekrn.exe running on your computer is a genuine process. To achieve this, go through the list of currently running processes. You can view the names of currently running processes on your computer by performing the following steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the Windows Task Manager window.
  2. Click the Processes tab.

If you find multiple instances of ekrn.exe running or find ekrn.exe running even when you don’t use any ESET software, chances are that your computer is infected with malware. To remove the malicious process, perform a complete scan of your computer using advanced antivirus and antispyware software.

At this point, it is also recommended that you run a registry scan using a reliable registry cleaner to remove any malicious entries that the rouge process may have added to your registry.

For your reference, we have listed the names of a couple of malware that are known to be associated with ekrn.exe file:

  • [Kaspersky Lab]
  • Mal/VB-F [Sophos]