What is wowexe.exe?

I’ve always known just what this wee gremlin was but haven’t been able to control it. Now, a ray of hope. I’m blogging this because the page appears to be new, hasn’t been cached etc and I want to help it get noticed by googlebot et al because it’s been a big problem.

When this program gets out of control it will always have a space infront of it’s name when you view the system processes. Sometimes it will spoof other process names, but the leading space is the giveaway. Proper processes don’t do that.

We use a very, very old contact management system, so old that it’s a 16bit system but it’s highly customised and upgrading it hasn’t been a priority. With the advent of open source it’s looking more likely that I’ll be able to find a system that suits. It’s not just the ticket price, it’s the access to customise the way I need to which is so often denied in the licensed world.

Anyway, I don’t run it so often but I’ve found that other programs still trigger the process, a key suspect being Mozilla’s Thunderbird email progam. I guess it might be part of the tapi/mapi thing but really it’s so new I’m surprised it needs WoW. Other times I’m not doing anything that I haven’t been doing for the previous hour or so but you can feel it kick in, everything grinds to a halt. Luckily it’s easy to kill.


Recent Comments



  1. June 9, 2005

    I’ve just been looking through my logs and saw that this page gets lots of visits 🙂 I know it’s just a stop off point before heading off but I’d be interested in your comment and any other wowexe.exe resources you’ve found.


  2. August 14, 2006

    I just got a new XP computer and before I’d even finished setting it up it had the Wowexe thing on it. Not sure what app spawned it but I thought that was pretty bizarre – in 2006.

    So, I checked out the advice and got scared that maybe the page wouldn’t exist etc. Just incase it ever gets pulled here’s the bit that works for me

    WOWEXEC is short for “Windows on Windows Execute” and is a helper program used to run 16-bit applications under NT and XP.

    A 16-bit program can give this error message when WOWEXEC is already running when the 16-bit program is started.

    Make sure that WOWEXEC is not left in memory when a 16-bit program is closed.

    To do this:
    1. Log in as the administrator.
    2. Run Regedit.exe (in Windows).
    3. Go to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW
    4. Look for the entry DefaultSeparateVDM, and change it to Yes.
    5. Close Regedit.

  3. Peter
    December 16, 2006

    I guess you didn’t really read what he asked.

    WOWEXE.EXE is not the same as WOWEXEC.EXE

    the first is a trojan, the second is a windows file

    I found out the hard was

  4. October 26, 2007

    Why am I having some Internet connection problems after installing wowexe.exe? Does this file contain any virus or something?

  5. November 9, 2007

    It’s a standard windows utility so shouldn’t be causing problems with the internet – apart from the fact that it slows everything doooowwwwwnnnnn.

  6. Roger Kvande
    December 7, 2007

    use cmd.exe window and delete it
    c:\del *wowe*.exe*
    Make sure you stop it running first

  7. March 7, 2008

    I hate to dredge up an old thread, but something is missing. I also have a problem with wowexe.exe (with space in front in Task Mgr). There is no such file name on my harddrive (although there is a legitimate wowexec.exe) and there is no wowexe in my system registry.

    This must be hiding as something else. Does anyone out there have info???

    – Thanx!

  8. March 7, 2008

    Hank, feel free to dredge away!

    You won’t find the file on your hard drive… it must be spawned by a dll somewhere.

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