How To Resolve Ekrn.exe High CPU Usage Issue

Purpose of ekrn.exe

The ekrn.exe module is an important component of ESET protection software, such as ESET Smart Security Suite and ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

This process runs as a service and its main function is to scan the files that you open, save, and download for infections in real-time. The other function of the ekrn.exe process is transferring data via the Internet on behalf of your ESET product. 

Ekrn.exe is a Verisign signed file and is by default located in a subfolder of C:\Program Files.  You may find the ekrn.exe file in following file sizes:

  • 468,224 bytes
  • 472,320 bytes
  • 455,936 bytes

Ekrn.exe Issue

If you are using ESET NOD32 Antivirus or ESET Smart Security, you may find that ekrn.exe is consuming huge amount s of CPU resources (in the range of 90%-100%).

Note: To check the CPU consumption of an individual process, press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then click the Process tab in the Windows Task Manager window.

Possible Solutions

To resolve Ekrn.exe high CPU consumption issues, you may perform the following tasks:

Note: After each step check  to see if the issue is resolved before proceeding to the next step.

  1. Start the repair process by updating your ESET software. The best way to update your ESET software is from the ESET website. If you find new updates there, download and install them on your computer.
  2. If you are using ESET NOD32, disable the real time system protection feature. Here are the steps for this task:
    1. Launch NOD32 software.
    2. Press the F5 key to open the Advanced Setup window.
    3. In Real-Time File System Protection, clear the File Open, File Creation, and Diskette Access options.
  3. If you are using Comodo Firewall version 3.014, update it to Comodo Firewall version 3.015. Comodo Firewall version 3.014 is known to cause high CPU usage problems and upgrading to the new version may resolve the issue for you.

Is ekrn.exe a safe process?

The genuine ekrn.exe is a safe process. However, other instances of ekrn.exe that are associated with malware are also recorded. Mal/VB-F [Sophos] and [Kaspersky Lab] are two Internet security threats that are known to be associated with the ekrn.exe process.

If you suspect the ekrn.exe process running on your computer is not a genuine process or if you have ekrn.exe on your computer even when you are not using EST software, we recommend you perform a malware scan on your computer. Before proceeding, make sure that your security suite is up-to-date with the latest definitions. This will help in detecting and eliminating the latest threats from your computer.