Ekrn.exe Uses High Amount of CPU

The ekrn.exe process belongs to the ESET NOD32 Antivirus and the ESET Smart Security Suite Kernel Service. The process runs as a service and is the central component for both the NOD32 antivirus and Smart Security suite. Ekrn.exe scans files that you open, save, update or download in real-time.

File Information

A Verisign signed file, you can find ekrn.exe within the C:\Program Files folder. The most common size of the file on Windows XP is 224 bytes. You may also find it in 472,320 and 455,936 bytes.

Common Ekrn.exe Problems

Many users get confused between the EGUI.EXE and EKRN.EXE files.  To clarify, Egui.exe is for the user interface and it does not run as a service. This is the reason why this file has no protections and can be easily killed or stopped. However, ekrn.exe is a kernel service and is important for the antivirus and the security suite to work properly.

One of the common complaints from Windows Vista users is that ekrn.exe uses a lot of CPU resources when running. This affects the performance of your computer and severely limits the system’s functionality.

The problem is that if you stop or disable ekrn.exe, the application will disconnect you from the Internet. Although this will prevent any new malware from downloading off the Internet, any malware already on the computer may still cause damage to the PC. Disconnecting from the Internet can just be temporary solution. To avoid this situation, you can opt for the following workaround solutions:

Method 1: Update your ESET Product

Outdated files are one of the major causes of several high CPU usage problems. Therefore, if you are not using the latest version released by ESET, you need to update the product to  resolve the issue. To do this, visit the ESET website, and download the updates for your ESET product. Finally, install the updates to resolve your problems.

Method 2: Uninstall and then Reinstall your ESET Product

  1. Use the Add or Remove Programs utility or a reliable third-party program uninstaller tool to completely remove the currently installed ESET product from your PC. You may also choose to use a good registry tool to clean your registry and remove all unwanted entries from it.
  2. Browse the EST web site and then download the latest version of your product.
  3. Reinstall the software using the new files.

Method 3: Disable Sun Java From Starting at System Startup

  1. Go to Start and click on Run.
  2. Type msconfig and then press Enter to open the System Configuration utility.
  3. On the Startup tab, look for Sun Java-related entries.
  4. Clear these checkboxes and then reboot your PC.

Method 4: Disable Real-Time File System Protection in NOD32

  1. Open the NOD32 window.
  2. Press F5.
  3. Look for Real-Time File System Protection.
  4. Under Scan on, clear the following checkboxes:
  • File Open
  • File Creation
  • Diskette Access.

Method 5: Update Older Versions of Comodo Firewall

If you are using Comodo 3.014, you might face problems with your ESET software. To resolve any issues in this case, update your Comodo firewall to version 3.015. Although this issue is more common on Windows Vista computers, many computers have faced issues on Windows XP also.

Method 6: Change the UAC Configuration in Windows Vista

If you are running Windows Vista and have (Universal Access Control) UAC on, then do the following:

Assign Full Control to System and Administrators

Assign only Read and Execute, List folder contents and Read rights to other authenticated users.

Method 7: Ensure the ESET is SET to Start Automatically

  1. Right-click on My Computer.
  2. Go to Manage and then to Services.
  3. Locate and double-click on ekrn.exe.
  4. Ensure that the Startup type is set to Automatic-if not then change it to Automatic.

Method 8: Change your Antivirus Tool

If you want to turn off ekrn.exe you can do this through the Advanced Setup Tree, in the Protocol filtering options under Web Protection.

An issue that some users have is that ekrn.exe can be renamed to another file if a user has Admin privileges. They are concerned that this is a security flaw in ESET’s design. Users say that such a flaw does not speak well for ESET and they hope that the issue will soon be resolved. Some users have jumped ship and switched to other antivirus and anti-spyware programs.