I had a COM Surrogate error that continually plagued my new machine for about 4 weeks before I got upset enough to do something about it. My error was a little different because it was happening EVERY time I was insert or withdraw a USB device that could contain storage (and my life cam). I had read all of the columns, including one here on the HowTo Geek about the COM Surrogate error being caused by a faulty CODEC with VISTA and video files. I went and downloaded and installed 2 packages of new 'better' codecs which would 'fix' this problem, but nothing seemed to change, even after several reboots and attempts to play the media files (to associate new codec with the code). Nothing changed.
Maybe I'm losing my edge, but I actually called Microsoft and negotiated with them to manage this SR for free (always a good call when it's on someone else's nickle!). When I called them, I described this error, and the technician Tyler was professional and all business. He poked and looked everywhere he could remotely, chasing down application logs and event IDs to frustration.
I explained that this started occuring after a recent upgrade, now about a month ago (near the 4th of July) when my MS Media Player 11 received a security patch that was a 'recommended' level. AHA...he exclaimed and charged down that path (after 2 hours on the phone and 4 reboots later). We looked into the Windows Update, in the View Update History and sure enough a patch was applied to my system on the 4th of July from my auto update and it was for the Media Player...which had slowed down a ton in any playbacks (whether video or audio). The KB associated was KB935652. Once this update was removed, we tested the sytem with multiple inserts of my iPaq, which seemed to be the major culprit, and wella!! everything was as expected...No more errors. Next was to see if it continued when reinstalled (proving that the patch was either installed incorrectly or corrupted from the source). With great trepidation, I allowed Tyler to install this patch, reboot the system (upon immediate demand of the Windows Update service; pesky annoying and noisy code), and all was well with my system! No more COM Surrogate errors. I was very relieved that this was the answer, and I pointed to the right conditions. To be fair, MS support folks had never seen this, because there might have been an article in the KnowledgeBase if they had, but there was none...so I requested that they write one about this, even if it was a simple and only annoying thing.
So there it is...CODECs are not the only thing that cause these COM Surrogate errors. Mine was caused by the aforementioned patch being corrupted when installed from the Updater service automatically.
Best of luck to all of you out there!
Los Angeles, CA