How-To Geek

Fix for COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working Error in Vista

If you’ve been getting the error COM Surrogate has stopped working whenever you browse folders containing video or media files, you have come to a good place for some possible solutions. This problem is caused because of codecs and other COM components installed by various softwares that aren’t fully Vista-compatible, like some versions of DivX or Nero.

Here’s the error message:


There are a number of possible solutions to this problem, and the right solution depends greatly on what software is actually causing the problem. Some of the most well-known problem causing softwares are DivX and Nero, but there are others that cause the problem as well.

Possible Solutions

  • If you are using DivX, you should be upgraded to the very latest version (6.5+)
  • If you are using Nero, you can try upgrading to the latest version (
  • If you’ve upgraded Nero and Divx and still have the problem, you can try renaming the file C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\ to  You may also need to rename to NeVideoHD.bak
    This will break Nero Showtime, however. (thanks to dugi in the comments for this one)
  • You can disable Thumbnail previews, which should make the problem go away, but isn’t the optimal solution.
  • The older ffdshow codec pack has been known to cause some problems. The ffdshow tryouts codec pack seems to work better. Might want to try using this one:
  • If you’d like to uninstall Nero entirely, there is a utility that they provide to help with complete uninstall that helps a lot in instances where you have a bad installation of an older version.
  • Some users have recommended installing the Vista Codec Package in order to update all your codecs to the correct versions. I can’t confirm that this works because I have not tried it myself. As always, be careful when installing unknown components and create a restore point.
  • You can use the very useful MMCompView free utility from Nirsoft to disable any codecs on the system. This is very useful to help troubleshoot exactly which component is causing the problem.
  • There’s another possible solution below of turning off DEP for dllhost, which might not work for everybody. You may have to add divx+nero executables to the DEP ignore list.


Alan McC wrote in with this fix that might solve the problem in a much easier way. Essentially, turning off Data Execution Prevention on dllhost (the COM surrogate) can fix this problem for some people. This solution is detailed below.

Right click on Computer, and choose Properties

Click on Advanced System Settings, and then under Advanced, click Settings

Select the “Data Execution Protection” tab, and then click “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select?

Click on the Add button, and then browse to C:\Windows\System32\dllhost.exe as shown

Click Open, and then OK.

Here’s what you should see…

Now you can browse video folders without problems!

I’d like to thank Alan McC for writing in with not just the second solution, but also all of the screenshots.

If these don’t solve your issue, it would be well worth your time to read through the comments. This thread has gotten a ton of attention, and there are a lot of useful responses in the comments below.

The comments have been closed on this article because the extreme amount of responses was making this page too long. Don’t fear, you can still freely ask all the questions you want by posting on the forum.

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Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/25/07

Comments (211)

  1. Daniel


    I have version 6.5 and it does not appear to have fixed the problem

  2. The Geek

    That’s unfortunate. It seemed to fix the problem for me.

    One thing you might try is disabling the automatic update check thing.

  3. Luis

    Still happens for me and I installed the update. It only happens on one of my computers though. I have a feeling that it might have more to do with Nero as has been suggested as I get the error on the computer with Nero and not on the one without Nero 7.5.

  4. The Geek

    Nero must be the reason… I don’t have Nero installed on this PC, and the problems went away once I upgraded to 6.5.

    I’m going to put a note in the article as well.

  5. Michael

    Thats a shame. I refuse to uninstall Nero. I mean, what will I use for burning? The built-in Windows app? LOL.

  6. thijs

    installing ffdshow might help too

  7. haos

    Well i read everything here and i tried the divx 6.5 codec but it didn’t solve my it was clear it was from nero…so i installed the latest version of nero, and it worked…no more com surrogate error….hurray :)) So now you know what to do…bye bye

  8. The Geek

    Lots of feedback on this one! It looks like most people are getting this error from Nero… seems like the latest update is the answer. I’ve updated the article.

  9. Andy

    The problem here is when the folder view is set to “Icons”. There is a cache which needs to be deleted and re-created.

  10. Matt

    Thanks for this post. Was going crazy on that error message. Updated Nero and now its working fine again :D

  11. Nic

    I have this same and do not have nero installed. I user FFDSHOW and HAALI splitter. Even with the latest version of both these packeages the error crops up as soon as I open my video library in media player :(

  12. Chris

    I agree it’s Nero. I uninstalled Nero ages ago, but there were obviously still bits lurking around. I went on Nero’s support page and got their general clean-up tool, used that to uninstall everything Nero-related, and the COM surrogate problem went away.

  13. David

    I uninstalled Nero BEFORE I instlled Vista as per the Vista instructions. I’m also getting this error. I will try the DIVX update. It appears to me that BOTH are at issue.

  14. Dugi

    If you have Nero 7 installed, rename the file: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\ to but this will result in Nero Showtime being unable to play the video component.

  15. The Geek

    Good tip, Dugi…

    I did install the latest version of Nero ( and it fixed all the problems for me as well.

  16. wqew seems to be the culprit

  17. Fats was the problem on my Vista Home Premium install with Nero 7 as well. Changed the name … error went away and thumbnails for all images appeared.

  18. The_MAZZTer

    The Orb remote media software (also packaged as Winamp Remote) may also cause this problem. However there is no “” although there are other .ax and .dll files registered.

  19. mnemo

    Thanks! I just removed all class references to from the registry and didn’t even have to reboot. No dllhost.exe crashes anymore.

  20. SKIS

    I had exactly the same problem, and have just updated to the latest Nero and it has fixed the issue. It would definetly appear that installing 7.751 fixes the problem. Kudos to all you out there who figured that one out:)

  21. Chris

    I had exactly the same error. It turned out to Be URGE. I removed URGE and the error went away. I reinstalled URGE all is well now.

  22. ertam


  23. James

    opps when I read this form yesterday I didn’t notice the fix for nero :)

  24. George Gray

    I was having a similar problem, but instead of the COM error, I was getting the Rundll32 has stopped error everytime I went to a directory that contained MPG or MPEG files. After reading through the forums, I tried all of the suggestions (have ROXIO instead of Nero) and still kept getting the error. Well, after then reading the volumes of log files that Vista creates, I found the offender: Turns out, this is something from Ligos. I searched online for it and found that it frequently causes problems in XP as well. It is located in the Windows\System32 directory. Go there and find that and the other two related ax files. Simply unregister them and viola! Problem solved. I can now browse with large icons to directories that have mpg files without error. I even get the thumbnails. DVD Maker also works. I’ve not had any side effects from unregistering these either.

  25. James

    I have only got ffdshow installed and I get the problem. When it is not installed the problem does not exist… but that means I can’t view divx files!

  26. Harrison R

    I too have the same problem, whenever windows explorer is open to any folder (mostly with video). I dont have Nero installed on this vista system and I still have the error message…I tried upgrading my divx codec to 6.5 but upon download was warned that its not compatible with vista yet?

    Any suggestions?


  27. Taavi

    thanks guys..the same thing worked for me too :P

  28. Jason

    Updating DivX fixed the problem. But still, Windows DVD Maker takes about 3-4 hours to burn a DVD…sucks

  29. Demas

    IT’S NOT NERO! It’s the video codec!
    I’ve uninstalled K-Lite Codec Pack and installed DivX only and works perfect…

  30. Gary

    I uninstalled all codec packs that I had installed, installed the latest divx codecs and the problem went away. Also I don’t have NERO installed at this stage.

  31. Josh

    This COM thing was really ticking me off. I uninstalled the codec pack I had, and now the error has seemed to go away. Thanks!

  32. ants

    it happens with all the suggested issues and apps listed above. This is an issue MS has to address. I can not believe they ripped us off again releasing an OS pre ready for the public. My business is suffering. Yes my copy is legal. I have thought of suing MS for lost revenue and my solicitor is looking into it. And to think the are selling new systems with this crap OS on it. I wonder how much tweaking a tech has to do on it pre sale.

  33. Rueben

    absolutely wonderful! worked like a magic charm, thanks for the tip.. i was starting to pull hair out over this ;)

  34. Voniak

    thanx for great tip :-)

    Renaming worked for me perfectly. I’m using Visra RC2 and now, COM surrogate error is gone.

  35. Thanh

    Hi :)

    Had that same problem, updating Nero to and DivX to 6.5.1 did NOT fix it! But uninstalling DivX did fix it, and installing the latest Xvid codec made me able to watch any DivX encoded file in WMP 11 again.

    The culprit is DivX which is not really compatible with Vista, and which also comes in codec packs like K-Lite, often people don’t even know they have it installed – “Oh, i have no DivX, only K-Lite!” Dears, K-Lite also contains DivX and that causes those errors under vista.

    Vista Ultimate 32 bit here, genuine full retail version.

    Kind regards….


  36. Ron

    I uninstalled my codec pack and it fixed it…i tried Divx and Nero with no luck so i just uninstalled the video pack…there might have been a confict in codecs
    hope this helps

  37. java

    ok u can fix this issue without changing file name. go to start icon then click it and then click default programs then click associate a file type or protocol with program a program click that and under name find divx click it and click change program then u will see nero or another program that is causing the problem. go down to browse and look for where u have the windows media player like c/program files/windows media player/wmplayer.exe now click that and chose open then click ok. now u r done u wont have the problem with the codecs because u have now bypassed nero for divx and u will be able to play the files with windows media player. thats it problem solved

  38. Word

    Yeah definitly nero .. I renamed the to and it worked…


  39. Greeneblitz

    I have tracked the problem down to .avi files that are trying to thumbnail preview.
    I have removed nero, divX and urge, I have cleaned the registry and hard drive with the nero cleaning tools, searched for all files that have been mention to no avail, the only thing that works for me is to put your avi files in a seperate folder with no thumbnails.

  40. David

    I have a solution for everybody–Uninstall Divx and download WinVLC its like 1000x better and hoesnt have annoying adds and the picture quality is better

  41. steveplaya

    LOL. The easy fix is to go to the folder select organzie, select folder and search options, select view, check always show icons never thumbnails. Problem solved.

  42. aaaa

    DEINSTALL FFDSHOW. problem fixed

  43. Silverjazz

    I am using Vista Ultimate. Checked Nero already using but DVD Maker still crash. First issue is after select the video (AVI from Win Movie Maker) then crash. Asked to Restart program or Find solution online. Then I renamed to as suggested. I works a little bit better but not stable. It passed the stage after I selected the video file but crash when I change the Menu Style.

    Found out that need to reanamed to


    Thanks Guyz!!

  44. Rob

    that COM warning was driving me bloody crazy, it looks like changing the to did the trick for me, cheers for the advicce ppl, i can now browse my folders in a nice calm manner lol

  45. Tiki

    Description – This error occurs when the DivX file is trying to generate a preview of the movie when you are viewing the folder containing the video.

    Fix – Right click on the folder that causes the errors(folder containing xvid encoded .avi files), goto properties, then click the customize tab, and it asks you “what type of folder do you want?” and under that is a drop down list. Select “All Items” from the list, and click the checkbox that says “Also apply template to all subfolders”. This should clear up the error when navigating through folders containing DivX encoded AVI files.

    **Please note that just minimizing those error messages can delay normal windows functions. EX- deleting items, moving items, copying items, sending items and even changing any properties within windows.

  46. Netmastan

    Thank you Tiki, it works great

  47. genius

    Also try unistalling you XVid codecs that seems to have been the problem for me, I am still looking for a working XVid Codec though

  48. whatever

    i just renamed to and it worked
    thank you

  49. Agnostic

    IF the above tips don’t work uninstall divx codec or any codec pack you have installed and try this instead:

    Thumbnail view now works correctly, no more com surrogate errors even though the other tips didn’t solve my problem.

  50. Tim

    I installed Nero and started getting this COM Surrogate message. I stumbled upon this thread and started trying some of the suggestions. I first tried to rename the file to After I did this my AVI files would no longer play video in Windows Media Player. So I changed that back. However, I did not have DIVX 6.5 installed. So did the following and all is well now.

    -Installed DIVX 6.5
    -renamed file to (this time it did not cause any video problems with WMP)

    So I found that both these steps are required to fix my error message. I also took the thumbnail feature off of my Video folder containing AVI files just in case, because its seems to me from reading that the root cause is a bug in the interface from DIVX and Windows Thumbnail preview. Not sure if the blame is on Windows or DIVX.

    Thanks for everyone’s help!

  51. Adam

    Thanks for fixing that annoying problem that damn popup box was driving me crazy and out of desperation I googled the problem and found this site to be very handy

    Thanks for your help You’ve done good!

  52. Adam
  53. superbust

    Do you have Nero installed? if so uninstall it.

    Try this if you have nero 7.
    rename to in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\

    everything should be fine…

  54. tom

    hi there. i have windows vista and ie 7 allong with nero and the same problem with surrogate .
    tryed to rename the file and the problem was gonne yeah but later i cant seee some pages with flash etheir tath i really neeed. so i have to rename it again and the problem ~is real again..

  55. Bernard

    I have uninstalled nero, even after trying to update to, I removed nero’s folder as the uninstall was not working, and had to use the windows install cleanup utility to remove it otherwise…

    removed both vista codec pack and k-lite codec pack, have used turned off DEP for dllhost.exe and have renamed the files in the ahead commonfiles folder…

    and i am STILL having a problem with this thing

  56. shaaz

    Thank you for the help & the solutions provided.Special thanks to Alan as the solution suggested by him (Turning off Data Execution Prevention on dllhost (the COM surrogate) worked perfectly fine for me & i dont get the COM Surrogate error any more :-)

  57. Kevin

    FYI – Turning off the Data Execution Prevention attribute for dllhost (the COM surrogate) is NOT an option when running Vista 64. Only turning of DEP all together is available.

  58. Alan McC

    Hi all, Glad to hear it is working. i was unaware that there was an option to completely turn it off on 64 bit Vista. Curious.

    As anyone who follows the steps outlined for DEP, you may also come across an issues with certain applications not running and stating that DEP has blocked it, this is due to the fact that you have enabled DEP for all programs, and any program with this problem should also be added to the exclusion list for DEP ( Dont worry, this actually makes you machine more secure)

    Regards, Alan

  59. Fabian

    Thank God for geeks!!!

  60. Gary

    For whats it worth, My problem was Mpeg2 files, everytime you open a folder with a large mpeg2 in explorer bombed. the way i fixed this was to remove LIGOS mpeg 2 codec, I installed Elecard Mpeg2 and the problem stopped.

    I only used the K-lite codec pack, just selected the other options during install.

  61. cabal

    VISTA is a perfect example of a company advertising its weakest points.

    If a company advertisies a product as having a pleasant smell, it often has spent a lot of R&D effort trying to mask its horrid stench. WHen it finally manages to get it down to a level where further effort is too expensive to pursue, it markets it as low odour…

    Since the vendor spent years kicking the development team to make LONGHORN secure, the company is advertising the security aspect of VISTA.


  62. martin

    my 2 cents –
    had this problem b4 installing any codecs or nero7
    updated divx and nero to no avail – problem persisted
    tried the data excution fix – sorted
    still takes a long time to do a lot of thumbs but it does get there eventually now

    and to quote Fabian – thank god for geeks :)

  63. messa

    I had the problem after installing DVDSanta. I deinstalled it and the problem went away….

  64. Harry

    thank for ur advice

  65. Kevino

    Thanks How To-Geek for the advice for fixing that annoying problem it drived me crazy

    * this is actually a great site for fixing problems i’m gonna advise it to all my friends

  66. Nik

    Thank you for the advice. i disabled it and it works fine.
    i do appreciate your help. thanks

  67. ChrisBones

    I tried changing the and the NeVideoHd as mentioned, but nero showtime wouldn’t work, so i only changed the NeVideoHD and left the other as it should be and everything is fine now! I did have Divx 6.5 installed previously, but it had been uninstalled days ago much before this com surrogate error apeared, so i realised it was down to Nero, but I allready was using version so maybe it is down to the HD part in nero

  68. Joe

    well i haave had this problem since i upgraded to Vista Home Premium. i updated both Nero and Divx to the latest versions and follow the directions about remanimg and doing changes an so forth. ( i have followed all tips) i have finaly go tthe error window to come up but i still can not see a preview of my AVI files as thumbnails and this is driving me insane. i was able to see them for a bit but now i can not. does anyone now of a way to fix this. all of the avi files need the divx codec to play. i have unistalled divx and then i only get sound when i try to play them. i have reinstalled divx and the error is gone but i still can not see the thumbnail preview for my avi videos. Someone please Help Me!!

  69. Yang

    thanks for the solutions! very much appreciated

  70. The Geek

    I’m going to edit the article as well, but you might want to try downloading the ffdshow codec pack from here… I’ve been using this codec pack with a lot of luck.

  71. Dmitriy

    Hey guys, I also have this COM surgate problem. I installed nero the demo version, and then got the serial number to make it permenant. But I can find link or in the program to get the update, can anyone direct me to it. Thanks guy’s

  72. Richard


    Thanks for your help. I bought Vista Home Premium upgrade from Windows Xp and so far so good. A lot of my programs are not compatible with Vista so I had to go out and buy Nero 7 Ultra enhanced for Vista. That’s when I started getting this COM surrogate problem. I used your fix last night and it corrected the problem. Other than that, I like Vista a lot.

    Thanks again


  73. Erick Leiz

    I uninstalled the DivX Codec and installed the XviD codec instead. At first I followed Alan McC’s steps, that did get rid of the ‘COM Surrogate has stopped working’ issue but it still didn’t show the screenshots of the videos that I liked in my folders. So I did that, uninstalled DivX and installed the latest XviD codec installed and it works perfectly. For those of you that are wondering about Nero, I have Nero 7 and it didn’t interrupt with anything. Try this if other things aren’t working.

  74. Paul

    To fix this problem, after going through a lot of the above advice, I got rid of DivX and installed the XviD codecs.
    Hey presto the error has gone away, thanks to everyone.

  75. Antonio

    If you have a run32dll error previewing mpg files is nero.
    Rename and to .ax.bak

  76. Gandy


    Just to let you know the rename also fixed a problem with Windows DVD Maker crashing

  77. Richard

    Monsieur Geek!!!!!

    Me again. All sorts of weird things are happening. For example, if I leave my Pc on for say 3 or 4 hours or so, Internet Explorer shuts downs or turns off??? This happens if I am not using the Pc. When I try to use it a window pops up and tells me that explorer has shut down and asks me if I wish to restart the program??? Why???

  78. Richard

    Another problem, a window keeps coming up saying Windows host Rundll32 is not working, then it tells me that Explorer shut down again. HELP

  79. alex

    i have a gateway gt5412 windows vista. the message ‘com surrogate has stoped working. a problem caused the program to stop working correctly.’

    this message comes up during power up and program load of the computer. how do i get rid of this anoyance.

  80. doug

    heythanks for the tips. I got that message several times a day, didn’t know why. What a weird sounding name.

  81. Joe

    well i unistalled Divx and install the xvid codec and problem solved! now i can see my avi previous just fine. in my case it was Divx cousing all the problems. I would like to ask for some more help if i could (i know it is a different topic but im hoping it will be ok to ask) when i maximize my windows i loose the cristal like effect of the windows aero and the window goes black…. does anyone know how to stop this from happening?

  82. Jose

    Thank you soo much. I disable the Thumb nails and it works like a Charm .

  83. Ron

    I don’t have the divx codec installed here, just running the xvid codec. I recently installed the Nero 7 and then the error appeared while browsing the folders where my videos are. I ended up downloading the general clean up tool from Nero. Once I ran it and completely cleaned the system of all references to Nero with the tool, the error went away. Installed Nero 6.3 and everything is fine. With that said, I have to wonder if the latest Nero is truly compatible with Vista. works fine for me with the exception that the drive image tool does not work. No more surrogate com error here. Also, the dep trick above did not work for me either.

  84. Stephen Brown

    Thank you! I unistalled Nero.. which came bundled with my new Vista PC .. duurrr!

    I had both the Com Surogate and Rundll32 probs but they’ve both been fixed with the removal of nero. I dont need it any way as i’ve got Ulead Movie Factory.

    Being an early adopter can be a real pain in the ass sometimes.

    Once again, cheers.

  85. ken

    Thanks a ton…I was fed of this error message

  86. ejunksgrey

    wow…renaming that nero file worked straight away…
    Problem now gone.. :)

  87. Cheerio

    Hi :) I only bought got my Vista Home Premium setup 4 days ago and i put my XP Codec pack in only to find the “Com Surrogate” problem and exploer shut down once or twice.
    I dont run Nero but my digital cam runs AVI vids so i needed to sort it.
    I used Alan McC’s advice then removed my XP Codec pack.
    From there i installed the Xvid codec pack and all is well! I didnt even have to change my WMP.
    Cheers guys :) (and girls if any – not sexist) ;)

  88. Cheerio

    Oh btw, heres the link to the Xvid codec pack :)

  89. The Geek

    The ffdshow codec pack includes xvid, along with just about every other filter you can imagine.

  90. Jimmie

    Very usefull.. Thanx!

  91. Cheerio

    True, ffdshow does contain many many codecs, but Xvid runs all my videos and if had no problems since. Remember, im not running Nero, so the other fixes wont work 4 me. ffdshow had DivX in it and conflicted when i put it in, hense why i put in this option. Im not dissin your knowledge, im just stating that ive tried this and it didnt work in my opinion with my settings.
    peace, Cheerio

  92. Bobby

    very usefull……..thanks

  93. yodaddi

    not sure if it’s a coincidence but since i did what that illustration explain to do i can’t get on the internet anymore. this happen when i reboot my pc. i’m getting the message of:

    1. Firefox has stopped working
    2. IE 7 has stopped working
    3. Windows explorer has stopped working.

    i restored to an earlier configuration and i’m still getting the same issues. i have windows vista home premium installed w/ 1.5 g of Ram.

  94. edie

    “Select the “Data Execution Protection? tab, and then click “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select?”

    I tried this one fix published above and it works perfectly on Vista Ultimate.

  95. biddle

    Hi Everyone here is a perfect soloution that worked for me:

    If you have nero installed (And I’m guessing that you do, because that’s what caused the COM Surrogate errors for me), you need to take out their stupid filters that seem to override all others.

    The filter either needs to be renamed or removed, and it’s found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter.

    Hope this helps

  96. hagi

    Thnx guys for telling the solution. The ffdshow really has fixed the COM Surrogate problem!:)

  97. Colleen Morton

    I don’t have either Nero or Divx installed and I’m still getting the COM surrogate error. I think it’s related to the Windows Mobile Device Center, as that’s when it comes up. I tried turning of DEP for it, but then the Device Center doesn’t work at all. Any ideas? (Running Windows Vista Business.)

  98. apoch

    This tweak will not work under Vista 64 bit.

  99. mustang 1

    im running vista and nero and i was getting that com error did the dllhost now i dont get that pesty error anymore thanks

  100. Rammstain

    I get this error in Vista “Media Center has stopped working” whenever i try to open my video library. Otherwise Media Center works fine and i can even open my video library folder outside Media Center.

    It was working fine until it suddenly stopped working. I even deleted all recent video files from there.

    Any ideas?

  101. darryl

    i had the same problem and fixed it, install XviD 1.2

  102. Ryan

    Thanks, The Geek. The guide worked perfectly!

  103. Ken Banfield

    This Guide worked for the installation of creative mediasource 3.30.35.
    Thanks for the easy & quick solution! :)

  104. Azure Scheppler

    soo… i don’t have an error with COM Surrogate. but it makes my computer really slow; then i “end process” on the windows task manager, is that the wrong thing to do?

  105. Harriey Rodman

    My computer froze yesterday.
    I had instaled microsoft Home and student 2007.
    I turned on my computer today and got
    “com has stopped workomg”.
    I do not have nero!!!!!!!!

  106. melissa stegall

    I have windows vista 64 and had downloaded Urge. ever since then i kept getting the “com surrogate” has stopped working mess. then i tried the Alan Mc C method to fix the problem and it worked like a charm. Thank you so much for extremely helpful site. I’m sure I will be using it often.

  107. David Allos

    i don’t have nero installed, and i still get that meassage. in addition, i get runtime errors with my sidebar (as if i use it) and i get no transparency with my taskbar even with aero on. help me!

  108. asmodeus

    I have been getting the ‘COM Surrogate’ error after installing XviD.
    Don’t want to rename the .ax files as they might break something.
    Alan McC’s method didn’t work.

  109. melissa stegall

    nope…problem is still there. I tried the Alan McC method again and I got a message telling me that this action could expose my PC to potential viruses and other threats. Should I continue disabling data execution prevention??????????

  110. colin

    just did what you said cus it popped up on me a couple of times hopefully it works anyway thanks.

  111. Ivy

    I followed the steps to change the data execution setting on my Vista 64, but it didn’t work. When I tried to open dllhost.exe, it says “You cannot set DEP attributes on 64-bit executables.” Is there another solution I can try?

  112. Echuu

    I tried all of them before i did the ffdshow, and removing ffdshow worked.

  113. mullet4evr

    This worked perfectly!!!

    April 13th, 2007 09:19
    Hi Everyone here is a perfect soloution that worked for me:

    If you have nero installed (And I’m guessing that you do, because that’s what caused the COM Surrogate errors for me), you need to take out their stupid filters that seem to override all others.

    The filter either needs to be renamed or removed, and it’s found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter.

    Hope this helps

  114. max

    Allan McC’s solution does not work with 64 versions of Vista.

  115. kimbotronic

    I have the COM errors and I have Nero installed, and I know Nero is the problem, but newer versions of Nero that I installed were not compatible with Vista so I had to install a 6. version instead of the newest
    Surely if I update my nero to get rid of the COM error I will find that it doesn’t burn anymore. I’m scared to try as I was nearly pulling my hair out trying to find a version that worked etc.!

  116. AA

    What the heck! I turned off Data Execution Prevention as above and now .avi files play (through Asus DVD) upside down!?!?! I have re-installed DVD player but to no avail. Has this happened to anyone else? What can I do?? I’m going to bed.

  117. User



    Problem caused by ffdshow codec

    This problem was caused by ffdshow codec.



    The support for ffdshow codec is community-based. Typically, this type of support group offers information and resources in a forum format about issues that other users have experienced with ffdshow codec. In the forum, you can research the problem with ffdshow codec, or you can ask the group a question about the problem.

    To access the support group, go to the website online.


  118. catogtp

    I’m having this same issue:
    April 12th, 2007 07:28

    i’m getting the message of:

    1. Firefox has stopped working
    2. IE 7 has stopped working
    3. Windows explorer has stopped working.

    i restored to an earlier configuration and i’m still getting the same issues.
    The problem seemed to start after I installed the newest version of nero and rebooted. I may have to download the nero cleanup tool to see if that fixes this.

  119. Thomps

    Hey,I tried to up grade version, didn’t work. Tried to change names on NeVideo files……didn’t work, then when I came back to your website today and tried McC’s method, worked like a charm, thx a bunch

  120. Thomps

    scratch that, now my media player is not responding so I undid Alan McC’s solution and now I am back to square one, I am a little behind on this computer garble, can anyone help me with another solution??????????????????

  121. GEEK's GEEK


    I also had a problem with video previews/thumbnails due to Nero 7.5.9.
    It seems that two video codecs in the Nero common files directory was
    screwing with default codecs. To fix the codec errors you have to
    rename two files in the the following dir……C:\Program Files\Common

    rename the following two items: – rename this (for example – also rename this (for example )

    Hasnt errored since and shows the thumbnails correctly now – : D


  122. tinh nguyen

    thanks this problem fixed on my computer

  123. Qfirdaus

    Hey guys, its on to me..Uninstalling Nero will caused me have no software burning but almost like i love to burn my data with window build in burning function..Whose said burning from window took 3 4 hour to be completed..It just need not more than 10 minutes to burn 4.7 gig DVD …It depends on your pc performance..

  124. Max

    I had same problem and after i change name of 2 files in nero as it was mentioned above problem dissapear…

  125. Russell Duarte

    Windows Explorer has stopped working. Everytime I click on the internet this error message from windows keeps popping up. How can I resolve this problem?

  126. montu

    great , the renaming nero files inside C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\ did the trick …
    i only got the problem after installing latest version of nero …
    ty :)

  127. Kyle

    Alan McC’s fix worked temporarily, but changing the file name worked in the end. Now I can watch my movies!! rad.. thanks guys

  128. jonathan

    wow! thx man! This is working on me! Those COM Surrogate is very annoying me!

  129. Charlie

    I dont have DivX or Nero on my Dell Vista Home Premium system. Tried the “turn on DEP except for COM Surrogate” suggestion but didn’t help. Uninstalled URGE and problem fixed.

  130. Nick Phipps

    The problem is usually caused by missing or faulty codecs. I kept getting this error until I’d installed both DivX and Quicktime.

    The best way to fix it is to check you have the latest codec versions for all the file types in the directory you are viewing. I find it’s a good way to see if you need an update.

  131. Cal Pusateri

    I un-installed Nero and I no longer get the error. I have written to Nero, but I do not expect much of an answer. Guess I am out the money I paid. Burned using burn to disk, not to bad.

  132. Rolando D. Cantu

    I did this, and it worked, but now none of my videos work. Windows Media player, Nero, no matter what I try to run the videos on it shuts down automatically.

  133. Rolando D. Cantu

    I downloaded the Codec, and everything worked fine, but now I can’t burn any of my videos on any program. When I drag my videos onto Nero, Nero just stops working. Any info on this.

  134. Rob

    I used the DEP solution and it has stopped the issue for me. I was using VLC when I ran into the problem.

    Thanks for the fantastic advice.

  135. Tyred Uvit

    I don’t have Nero installed and I was not browsing Video Files when this occured.

  136. Baher Samir

    Thank you verry much it’s verry useful

  137. Snip

    With many thanks for information which turned out to be very useful!Now all work and this COM already anymore bores in трее!Respekt!

  138. Shooter

    I have changed the names of the 2 files noted below; – rename this (for example – also rename this (for example 1NeroVideoProc.

    Com and rundll32 PROBLEMS FIXED!!

    Has anyone noticed issued in Nero due to this change? I have not tried burning a DVD yet.

  139. Fan

    thanQ Alan McC
    it did help me
    soo far i didnt get that annoyin message COM Surrogate

  140. Dave

    For those running AVANT Browser and who apply the DEP fix for this by adding dllhost.exe to the DEP listing!!!

    This will cause Avant Browser, and possibly other browsers and programs to also Stop Working!

    Workaround (Tested) – Add Avant Browser EXE to the same DEP list, and in the same manner as you added dllhost.exe, and it will work again. Same goes for any other programs that may stop working right after applying this COMM Surrogate fix.

  141. Dave

    I also noticed my last…”Rant” wasn’tposted, so I’ll tone it down a tad..even tho it wasn’t all that bad to start with.

    For “ant” and “cabal”

    You guys bash Microsoft & Vista for things that have nothing to do with them all the time??
    These issues are not the fault of MS or it’s OS, it’s 3rd party tools, codec’s, and other software that is at fault. They get the API to make their software work with the OS and it’s up to them to do it properly, not up to MS engineers ya know…

    Please, before you go spouting stuff you have no idea what you’re saying…STOP..and don’t say anything. That way you won’t look so bad or inadvertantly get other n00b’s thinking the same way.

    MS has issued areas of the API to developers so they can write their programs to work with the OS, many companies have had this for a long time and still can’t get their stuff out in time for the Vista RTM release…that’s not Microsoft’s problem…is it? Or if they release their stuff and it’s that MS’s fault??

    Think before you blame please, as with millions of other misinformed beginner users, you obviously don’t understand and are just following the MS Bashing crowd blindly. While I’m not a big fan of MS’s business practices at times, I also know how Operating Systems work and code myself, but I don’t blame MS if my stuff doesn’t run properly…I know better than that.

  142. Ellie

    i have 3 profiles on my computer and my administer profile can view vids and pics without that message but my third profile gets that message (com surrogate) i dont have nero and i have xvid codecs

  143. Pope

    Guys, I have Nero, DivX and everything installed on my vista…. I have tried the suggested DEP and I assure you that this is not the right solution.

    The only solution for this one is to uninstall your quicktime and install the latest one from their website. 100% fix for COM surrogate

  144. JBorko

    Hello all,
    I was trying to resolve the problem for several days now. Today I decided to dedicate to it more time.
    I was sure that it was a problem with a video codec, so I started to uninstall them one by one (I don’t use codec packs).
    None of that helped, so idecided to try to uninstall every program that could potentialy install any codec.
    I started with Nero as recommended on this site (but I doubted it since I had only light version of nero)
    Then I tried to uninstall winamp. Well uninstalling winamp resolved the problem for me. I guess it was some of the codecs intstalled with the winamp. So it’s worth a shot.

  145. Joe

    I keep getting the error message windows media center has stopped working in windows vista prem. I have updated all drivers and most all of my software and still cant get it going I have even tried microsoft easy assist and still nothing can you help.

  146. Sly

    I have Been trying everything as you said for resolve this issue guys , i have the latest Nero Latest K-lite MegaCodec Pack 2.01 and after all i still have this ****** Message pop up…. i m sick…..

  147. Sly

    after all i found the way to drop this pop up…. simply by :

    Installing the latest K-lite pack codec 3.1.0 and where you selecting what you want as codec DO NOT TAKE HAALI SPLITTER…. And after that solved problem even with nero i puted back the orignial name of no pop up anymore…. I wish it will help you to resolve your problem with that pop up….

    best regards

  148. Sly

    do not take HAALI SPLITTER FOR AVI Files….. Try this.


  149. Steve Bell

    I’ve tried everything listed on this site and finally read somewhere on another help site that URGE (along with Nero) would cause the error. I uninstalled Nero but still got the error. I uninstalled URGE and the Com Surrogate error message is gone. I really like URGE and hopefully once a service pack comes out I will be able to reinstall it. Until then I am going to do without it. As least I am free of the Com Surrogate message. I would think that M$ has had so many error message hits on this subject that they surely must be working on a solution. I finally gave up, cleaned my gigantic list of Com Surrogate Error Messages in Control Panel and now have not had any further problems with Vista Ultimate.

  150. Sly

    Try to install K-lite codec pack Full 3.1.0 and do not select Haali Splitter for AVI files and see if it s pop again for me even with Nero and all my program it doesnt pop anymore =) i hope it will work for you aswell….

  151. Lentovalle

    This problem makes me go crazy!

  152. zoran

    Thank you.

  153. BJ

    Wow! Thanks for the post…because I really needed this fix. I hope it works on my Vista Home Premium probelm (COM Surrogate has stopped working…)

    …I will be back to let you all know if it worked for me too.

  154. Ash

    I had this problem a few weeks ago… every time I’d try to open an AVI to edit it in Sony Vegas, I’d get the COM Surrogate thing. So I installed the DivX updates and it went away.

    Now, out of the blue, it’s appeared again. I’ve not changed any settings since it last worked. I’ve got the updated version of Divx, I don’t have Nero on the PC, I don’t have anything on there really as it’s strictly for work… I’ve just got the stuff that came with the installation, DivX, and Vegas.

    I used the method displayed at the end of this post and it made the pop-up go away… except then Vegas would crash any time I’d try to import an AVI!

    Anyone think they can help…? Do I need to set the Vegas executables to the ignore list? If so, how do I do that?


  155. Mike Vos

    Thanks for this – it was driving me crazy, not only was my Vista Ultimate giving me this message, but it would try it for every video file in the folder…

    For me, it turns out that it was Nero. I upgraded to Nero Enhanced and my problems went away – yay!

  156. kgcat1

    I just received this message COM Surrogate has stopped working. It was right after I installed Verizon VCAST Music Essentials Kit. It doesn’t say it’s Vista capable and I can’t find an upgrade for it anywhere. The driver for VCAST music installed with no problems. When I attach my cell phone, Motorolla razor, to try and sync the music, it can’t connect. Any suggestions…I was trying to get away from having both cell phone and mp3 player. Thanks. Kathy

    Inspiron E1505Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T2250 (2MB/1.73Ghz/533MHz)15.4 Inch UltraSharp TrueLife Wide-screen WXGA2 GB, DDR2, 533MHz 2 Dimm256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1400120 GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive8X DVD +/-RW DriveIntel PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG 802.11 a/g Mini Card (54Mbps)Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth ModuleWindows Vista Home Premium 32 BitBios A14Westell Versalink GatewayMcAfee 8.0AIO 9263300 Dell AdapterAll purchased 2/07

  157. Dave C

    For – ASH
    (and a few others that I’ve noticed posting about other programs that stopped working after applying the DEP Fix)

    Yes, probably by adding the Vegas exe to the DEP list, it will probably start working again. It’s done exactly the same way you added dllhost.exe, but this time you browse to Program Files, and your Vegas folder and add it’s exe to the ignore list.
    I had this happen with my Avant Browser and a couple of other programs too right after applying the DEP fix, and adding their exe’s to the list fixed those problems too.

    Geek had contacted me and said he was going to ammend the article to add a workaround for the other issues I found can happen when applying the DEP fix for the COM Surrogate errors, but I guess he’s either decided not to or hasn’t gotten around to it yet..;)
    The DEP fix “CAN” cause other programs to stop working also, but simply adding their exe’s to the same DEP Ignore list that you’ve added dllhost.exe to, will fix those other programs as well.

    Good Luck!

  158. vlh

    ePocrates seems to be delivering this message when I sync my pocket pc. How do I add the ePocrates program to the list?

  159. jeff

    hi im have the com surrogate and iv tried installing the lastest nero and it still did not work and tryed all the other things to can someone help me with this promblem i need step by step on how to take care of this problem THANKYOU

  160. Michel

    Hi, I have Vista Ultimate, think this problem is cannot fix..Not of one your solution work.Make a program or file what need store or execute.My Nero be a Nero 7.x Premium and divx 6.6…well not help yet….

    Hope you make file to help fix this

  161. smife

    I have had these problems since day one. I have Xvid, Nero & divx. I tried uninstalling all these applications to fix the problem. but now luck. But when I installed the windows vista codec pack it worked straight away. This com surrogate crap was driving me crazy.

  162. Nicolas

    I tried everything but it’s works with the windows vista codec pack like Smife said! Thanks I was %#(#$ about this problem. ( Using Windows Vista Ultimate)

  163. Michel

    Try to install VCP-vista codec pack :D all works fine only it lose performance, but after defrag, fine!

  164. Mike

    I spent an hour doing updates and trying to fix the issue. Nothing worked. Finally, I found it was the xvid codec causing the problem. Went to add/remove programs, uninstalled the xvid and all works fine. As mentioned above, the codecs are the most likely problem. If this does not work for you, check the codecs on your system and remove one by one, then see if the problem persists. If not, you have it fxed, otherwise move to the next one.

    I hope this helps.

  165. Tim

    I had earlier installed a great codec program called Ace Mega Codecs that I always used in xp. Well, as soon as I uninstalled it from Vista Ultimate, the “has stopped working” error went away immediately.

  166. Tim

    ^^ However, dream scenes don’t work without a codec pack on my comp.

  167. ginger

    thanks SO much this vista is so puzzling

  168. debbie

    I was getting the Con surragate has stopped working message. I read through your comments. Nothing worked or even applied to me except the Urge thing. I deleated Urge and the messages are all gone now!

  169. Steve Bell


    I’m glad to hear I was able to help you with the suggestion to delete Urge. Like you I had tried everything. Nothing worked until I deleted Urge. Have not had the error come up again. As Microsoft is co-developers with MTV, I am sure enough people have pointed out this problem that a fix surely is being pursued. I really love Urge but will do without it until they have corrected the problem.

  170. Joker

    DEP fix worked fine for me. Thanks a ton. Was driving me crazy.

  171. LT

    Thank you so frakking much for posting this. It was driving me OUT OF MY MIND. You have NO IDEA.

  172. Michael

    Thank you, Geek! Renaming the 2 Nero files worked for me as well.
    System: Dell Vista Business (fresh install)
    Nero version: (Ultra)

  173. _mike_

    klmcodec147 fixed the problem for me…

  174. mathijs

    I did everything but my problem stil isn’t fixed :( i want to play with vlc media player a movie but it is an .img file, does some one know how te solve this?

  175. ds

    I tried the filename change solution and it worked fine for me. Thanks

  176. Peter J

    hmm, well i figured out the problem for me. i had two different codec packs installed. there haven’t been any problems but because both had the splitter, they were cancelling each other out. i just deleted the older version and it is perfectly fine. just search and make sure you do an advanced search and you check the box that says search hidden files and system files. this is just one solution, hope it helps someone.

    -peter j.

    (p.s. i was using the community codec pack and the windows vista package codec thing.)

  177. Tina

    It was nero for sure, but after I upgraded nero to 7.9.6 everything was back to normal (well as normal as windows gets)

    good luck all

  178. doung

    Thanks, it work for me. Nero is the main problem.
    Thanks again

  179. Hawleywood Interactive

    I don’t use NERO. But i do use Divx and Nimo Codec’s – also ApolloDivxtoDvd and the MagicDVDcopier.

    I noticed this error only when the thumbnail views are turned on – and especially when adding video files to DeepBurner or Apollo. If i have a large dvd which is encoding or burning and i close the COM Surrogate error window – i also crash the app doing the encoding/burning.

    I’ve left it open during burns with no problems. Then i did the DEP for COM Surrogate.. now it seems to work swell. Just posting my outcome! Read on vista lovers. Read on.

  180. Eric

    What worked in my system was
    1) Deleting the Nero file (from Program Files as described at the top)


    2) making my Videos folder NOT customized for vpictures and video. Under Properties –> Customize, if I didn’t select the All Items template, the COM surrogate message kept coming back!

  181. bearpowa

    Nero was the problem for me.
    Thanks again!!!!

  182. Liran

    Go to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\DSFilter\ and delete

    Worked for me .

  183. Mike B

    I got this problem and I have Nero 7 and Vista Home Premium. I renamed the file and it works perfect now.

  184. Elias

    This was the page I’ve been looking for a long time. Thank you for all this page. It did really help me.

  185. Ethan

    I updated nero, dl’ed divx, and renames nero files. The rename finally fixed it!

  186. Flor

    THANK YOU!!!! The problem has gone!

  187. Peter

    Nero was the problem for me too – i deinstall it,cause latest version is very big and slow. 10x a lot!

  188. Mitchell Tropin

    I am trying to open up my Allstate Policy on line, and to get to policy information it wont open because it needs a ASPX file to run, but I cant seem to find a file to download, can you help me out with this please, thanks Mitch Tropin

  189. SGA Inc

    If non of these great tips work disable error reporting .Good old trick .Only use on your personal computer(not on a server)

  190. Tybalt

    Thx a lot for the list, fixed my error by using the The ffdshow tryouts codec

  191. Ruth

    A program I was installing also required me to install some codecs –> xVid codecs.

    This is when my problems started happening. All I had to do was uninstall the codec pack and the problem went away immediately afterwards. Not even a restart was required.

  192. Ben

    Thanks for the help! Fixing the files to disable Nero Showtime worked and it only took a minute. Plus I never wanted to use Showtime in the first place. :)

  193. mike

    Everyone, please submit all of these errors to MS by using the built in problem submit program:
    Start > Control Panel > Problem Reports and Solutions

    I have had this problem since I installed Vist Business, and I have NERO 7, but not divX. I am upgrading NERO, Quicktime (v7.2 is out), and installing Xvid. I’ll let you know what happens. However, I have Vista Media Center on my laptop WITH Nero, divX, and Quicktime installed and I have NOT had this issue at all. My reliabilty report is almost a 10, while on my desktop it is less than 5 (because of the COM and dllHost errors.)

    I hope these suggestions work for me. :)

  194. Olympia

    This problem was actually making me crazy and after installing the Nero 7 permium which did not end up fixing the problem; I think I may have found the ultimate solution. Someone here mentioned that it was definitely a codecs problem, so I uninstalled the K-Lite package I had installed and downloaded the so-called “Vista-Codec Package” from this website: as soon as I downloaded it and restarted my computer, the problem was fixed and was gone. So without updating my Nero again and doing anything else, this package has definitely fixed the problem, which means that I guess the problem might really be related to a codecs error. For those still facing this problem; do not resort to a divx update, just download this whole vista package and see if it solves the problem.

  195. Sim

    Hey thx for alI these great tips. i was having such a headache with this COM surrogate thing. I just did what one of you suggested and it really worked!!!

    Quote: “I have a solution for everybody–Uninstall Divx and download WinVLC its like 1000x better and hoesnt have annoying adds and the picture quality is better

    David on March 10, 2007 9:37 am ”

    Thx David

  196. Joe

    Instead of getting this error when I browse media folders, I get it whenever my computer starts up. I don’t have Nero OR Divx, so I have absolutely NO idea what the problem is….

  197. farzie

    nero 7 is ready for vista don’t instal codec packs

  198. Olivier

    First of all, I apologized for my english.

    Then, I’ve got the same problem AND another one, which seem to be indissociable.
    All solutions provided here failed.

    They appeared one month ago. I’ve installed some softwares for DVD Authoring, Ulead ones, before installing Vista Codec Packages 4 builds 4.4.1 and after 4.4.8. I don’t have Nero, too.

    One week later, as soon as I opened a folder which contain some movie-files, RUNDLL32 crashed down ! I’ve uninstalled Vista Codec Packages, but still the same troubleshooting… I tried to restore my system, but I was limited in my number of backup :… too late ! It made me crazy !

    But this evening, I FIND A SOLUTION !
    1. I’ve download this little software : . No installing required. It authorized you to disable some of your Codecs.
    2. Select 10 or 20 Codecs and disable them. Continue with another group, and so on. You couldn’t disable some codecs : don’t panic, and go to the next ones until your problem disappears.
    3. So enable your Codecs, one by one, until the problem appears again. Now you can name the codec from which came your troubleshooting !

    And updating or disabling permanently this one !

  199. Monte

    Hello there, great site by the way. I have the same problem as Joe. Instead of getting this error when I browse media folders, I get it whenever my computer starts up. I don’t have Nero OR Divx, so I have absolutely NO idea what the problem is either. (thanks for the concise words) This just started exactly 2 days ago. I don’t have any clue why or what to do. If any one can please help!

  200. Rubin Souza

    Tche, muito bom o tutorial da troca do nome de para Funcionou perfeitamente.. Valeu mesmo Tche.

  201. Stan

    This fix did the trick, but in the screen shots and verbiage above, there was no mention about the warning that this fix is not advisable since it makes the PC vulnerable to viruses, etc.

  202. wullie pee

    thx bro followed your instructions it worked a treat.

  203. James

    I already had the newest Nero and was getting this problem when I either viewed the thumbnails or tried to play the video. I updated the Divx, and then I could play the media but, I couldn’t view the thumbnails. I installed the fddshow.exe and it fixed the problem. Fddshow kept prompting me to allow the dllhost.exe to use it, but all you have to do is check the box that says “Allow always.” I don’t know what security implications this has, but I don’t get the error anymore :)

  204. Jayy Rodrigues

    Yay! I was starting to get irritated cause I couldn’t watch any videos cause the message was not going away and now it did thanks so much!


  205. BandcaveMan

    I do not have Nero or Divx installed and I get the Com Surrogate error every 9-10 bootups. It is annoying me!!! I can’t stand Vista!!!

  206. Adam West

    Run this nero removal tool that nero has so kindly provided, hidden somewhere is the lost world of online support that they offer. it removes EVERYTHING nero. Fixes the problem perfectly.

    just click the like near the bottom of the page that says download the general removal something or other. only takes like 2 minutes to search out all nero crap and remove it. Restart your computer and everything is back to normal.

  207. Bruno

    I had the same problem here….i just removed my klite mega codec pack and have installed those fdshow codecs and it worked great for me! thanks! =)

  208. Axee

    Hey i had a same problem,,,,but it looks like solved by the solution given above,, thanks

    lot thanks

  209. DustandEchoes91

    Im going to guess its Nero that causes this for me, It didnt start comming up until i installed the software for my new dvd burner that included nero.

  210. Beth

    What if you are running a 64bit processor – the above dll exe. ‘fix’ does not work. Suggestions?
    Thanks –

  211. The Geek

    ————————————- NOTE ————————————

    I am closing the comments on this article because of the large amount of support questions.

    You are welcome to leave any computer help questions on the Forum

    ————————————- NOTE ————————————

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