Windows Photo Viewer terminating with “COM Surrogate” error

One of the computers I manage had a problemen with Windows Photo Viewer, which crashed with the message "COM Surrogate has stopped working".

Especially when clicking "Next" in the viewer, the application crashed.

It's a 64 bit Dell computer running Windows 7 with all updates applied. It has a Trend Micro virusscanner and a TightVNC 2.x server for remote management.

What is COM Surrogate?

Often, COM objects are defined in DLLSs, a piece of code that is executable, but just not by itself. It is started by another program when needed. But sometimes, you just want to run code from a DLL without writing a complete wrapper program around it. That's where Microsoft has provided a program that can execute parts of a COM DLL without developing a complete program to load the DLL.

This program is called dllhost.exe and has user friendly name "COM Surrogate

What can I do against a crashing COM Surrogate?

I read several solutions, most of which were useless to me, but they may help you.

Replace video card

In my case, the issue was that the drivers of the onboard video card crashed. The computer is an Optiplex 9010 with an Intel® Q77 Express Chipset (Intel® BD82Q77 PCH) chipset that has Integrated Graphics.

I inserted an ATI Radio HD34xx card, which was automatically installed by Windows 7. After a reboot, the problem seems to be completely gone.


There are a few dlls that can be "re-registered" with Windows. Click on start, type cmd and right-click to choose "Run as Administrator". On the command line, type:

regsvr32 vbscript.dll
regsvr32 jscript.dll

Check Disk for Errors

Bad sectors on the hard drive could be the cause of COM Surrogate crashing. You can check your disk with the chkdsk command.

Disable DEP for dllhost.exe

Another fix that is suggested by numerous websites, is adding dllhost.exe to the exception list of DEP (Data Execution Prevention).

On 32-bit systems, you could whitelist:


And on 64-bit systems, that would be:

Although this MAY be a fix, I really suggest you don't use this method. The dllhost.exe is an executable that runs a crapload of DLLs, both Microsoft-DLLs and Third-party DLLs. It's like telling your virusscanner to exclude *.exe from scanning.

If it were your financial software, I would not advice against it, but dllhost.exe is used by so many programs, that I don't consider it safe to exclude.

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9 comments on “Windows Photo Viewer terminating with “COM Surrogate” error”

  1. i had the same error, i installed a new video card nvidia 8300Gs, it has 1 gig of mem
    built on the card.
    problem solved

  2. Did both CMD and DEP disabling (for win7 64 its located in C:\Windows\SysWOW64\dllhost.exe as marked in the article, going to default C:\Windows\System32\dllhost.exe doesnt work, A lot of people pointed that out even if its clear in the article

  3. Some other threads are saying that its the video card DRIVER, not the card itself at fault, e.g. you can enable / disable the software - and let windows take care of the driver. Search for specific instructions on how to do this.

  4. One of method worked for me, i would like to share that it might help someone else.
    Using OS: Windows 8.1 pro 64bit
    The Com surrogates stopped working error was faced everytime i was going to pictures folder from "Start Menu" and clicking on "Pictures". The Pictures shortcut link was opening the pictures folder as "Apps -> Pictures" with a long random characters in address bar. Instead when i clicked my normal pictures shortcut, it simply takes me to C:\Users\username\pictures and the com surrogates problem was didn't occurred that way.
    So I simply changed the "pictures" target location to "C:\Users\username\pictures" and problem got solved.

  5. I've same issue with windows10...
    I tried all recommended solutions on the net, but couldnt solve it.
    However, i realized that Com surragate issue or freezing thumbnail creation, or freezing folder view, freezing windows photo viewer during frequently changing photos occurs when the folders have RAW photos...when i delete raw photos from folders, everything runs quite fast without any issue...
    then i was sure that, windows is trying to create thumbnails/preview my RAW files and crashing there. (my camera: Sony A7 MarkII) then i google sony alpha raw driver and found driver on Sony website...installed....then every each of above problems dissappeared immediately....

    my recommendation is: check the folders you're viewing, if there's any unsupported file format, remove or move them to another folder...then check again in the same folder with (only jpegs)...if there're no more problems, then find proper driver for your unsupported file format.

    I hope this helps others.

  6. i've just written a solution that solved all my same issues and your website said i'm spamming and deleted all.....i've no words for you. you spent my time and deleted a solution for other people....
    you're simply too bad.

  7. The message was indeed deleted by one of the automatic spamfilters I'm running, but I don't know why. I've just restored it. If you could provide me with an error message, I could look into the reason why it was originally deleted.

  8. COM Surrogate is one of those processes that you may discover running in your Windows 10 task manager. You may even discover more than one Com Surrogate process running simultaneously. Assuming this is the case, don’t stress — COM Surrogate is not a virus. COM Surrogate is one of those processes that you may discover running in your Windows 10 task manager and also it is not a virus.

  9. Bugger off, spammer! It's pretty clear from the second paragraph that COM Surrogate is not a virus. You clearly just googled for articles where you could insert your totally irrelevant link.

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