Consent.exe: Legitimate or Malicious?

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Most Windows processes required by the operating system to function properly are automatically loaded during boot up. However, some programs are also known to add their executable file in the startup processes so they are automatically run when the computer is turned on. Then, they just keep running in the background until the user brings them up. For programs like Skype, Dropbox, and others that need to be constantly refreshed for new content, loading right after startup is normal. But if it’s just an ordinary program, running in the background is not recommended because it will just consume your resources and slow down your computer.

One of the processes that are usually loaded during startup is consent.exe. When you open the Task Manager, you’ll often see it running under the Background Processes section. However, most users are not aware of what this process is for and it is often mistaken as malware. Some users even kill and delete the process without understanding what it is for and what it does in the system. This random removal then causes more problems for the affected users.

However, because malware is popular for posing as system processes, we cannot discount the fact that consent.exe could be malicious. If you’re bothered by the consent.exe process on your PC and you can’t determine whether it is a legitimate process or malware, this article should give you an idea what this process is, what it does, how to know if it is malicious, and how to remove it from your computer.

What is Consent.exe?

Consent.exe is a legitimate system process that was released for the Windows operating system by Microsoft. It belongs to the User Account Control (UAC) feature. This system process is automatically run when the operating system is loaded. This particular process is a new security feature and is also a core component of Windows Server 2008.

The UAC feature was designed to stop unauthorized changes to your computer that could potentially affect its operations. The consent.exe process is responsible for asking for administrative permissions on behalf of third-party software that needs it in order to initiate or perform changes to a particular computer. It displays a prompt message requesting permission to allow a non-Windows application to run with administrative permissions.

The Consent.exe process also allows Windows users to perform certain tasks as non-admin users or standard users. This means that the user will be able to perform admin tasks without switching to an admin account, logging off, or using Run as. The consent.exe process is crucial for the operation of the Windows system and should not be removed if possible.

The consent.exe file is usually located in this folder:

C:\Windows\System32

Is Consent.exe a Virus?

When you see the consent.exe process in the background, you’re probably wondering, is consent.exe a safe file? Keep in mind that the Consent.exe process only appears on Windows Vista, 8, 8.1, and 10 computers. So, if you see it on another device except for the ones listed above, it’s most probably malware.

One of the known behaviors of malware is that it disguises itself as a genuine Windows process, like the consent.exe process, in order to evade detection by the device’s anti-malware software. Several users have reported incidents of unresponsiveness related to the consent.exe executable file. Other users claim that whenever the consent.exe process is running, it eats up a huge chunk of CPU resources.

Although the legitimate consent.exe process is a core part of the Windows system, the process should be properly inspected. Consent.exe is the perfect target for malware since the consent.exe file has administrative system privileges and is located in a relatively safe location.

To determine whether consent.exe is a virus or not, the first thing you need to check is the location of the file. Open Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys, then look for the consent.exe process. Right-click on it, then choose Open File Location.

If the folder location that opens is the C:\ Windows \ System32 folder, it is safe to assume that the process is legitimate. But just to be sure, right-click on the executable file and select Properties from there. In the Properties window, go to the Digital Signatures tab and check whether the Name of the signer is listed as Microsoft Windows. If the file is signed by Microsoft, the file is indeed legitimate.

But if you determine that the consent.exe process is located in a different location, then you’re dealing with malware that is posing as a genuine consent.exe system process. If this is the case, you need to get rid of it from your computer as soon as possible.

How to Remove Consent.exe?

If you’ve found out that the Consent.exe process on your computer is malware, you need to remove it immediately to protect your personal information and privacy. Here are some of the ways to remove the consent.exe malware from your device:

Step 1: Run a Scan of Your Computer.

The first thing you need to do is scan your computer for the presence of malware using an anti-malware software. Delete all the infected programs and files using your security software. You can also use a PC cleaning tool to delete all infected files in one go. Malicious apps are persistent because they embed scripts and malicious files into different directories which can be used to re-infect the device. So you need to thoroughly clean up all the files related to the malware. You shoul also schedule regular scans of your system to protect it from other malware.

Step 2: Revert All Changes Done by the Malware.

Malware, particularly adware, operates by changing certain settings on your computer. Check for any recently installed apps that you did not install yourself and uninstall them from your computer. You also need to check your browsers for any changes to the search engine, default homepage, or extensions. Reset your browser to remove all traces of the malware. You can follow the steps below to reset your web browser:

Google Chrome:

Click on the menu icon located at the top right of your browser, and click on Settings. Scroll down, then click on Restore settings to their original defaults under Reset and clean up. Click on the Reset Settings button to confirm the action.

Firefox:

Go to the Firefox menu, then click on the question mark (Help). Choose Troubleshooting Information. Hit the Refresh Firefox button to give your browser a fresh start.

Internet Explorer:

From the Internet Explorer menu (gear icon at the top), choose Internet Options. Click on the Advanced tab, then select Reset.

In the Reset window, tick off Delete personal settings and click the Reset button once again to confirm the action.

Microsoft Edge:

Open the Microsoft Edge app and click More > Settings. Click Restore settings to their default values under Reset settings, then click the Reset button to confirm.

Safari:

Open the Safari app and click on Safari from the menu at the upper-left of the screen. Click on Reset Safari. A dialog window will open where you can choose which elements you want to reset. Next, click the Reset button to complete the action.

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