Winload.exe (Windows Boot Loader) is a small piece of software, called system loader, that is started by BOOTMGR, the boot manager used in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 operating systems. and Windows Vista.

The job of winload.exe is to load the necessary device drivers, as well as ntoskrnl.exe, a core part of Windows.

In older Windows operating systems, like Windows XP, the loading of ntoskrnl.exe is done by NTLDR, which also acts as the boot manager.

Is Winload.exe a virus?

Winload.exe is not a virus

In essence, winload.exe is not a virus. Unfortunately, you will find a lot of information that says the opposite.

For example, some antivirus and other “file info” sites will mark winload.exe as a type of malware and even say that the file is unnecessary and can be deleted, But this is only part of the truth.

While it is true that a file named “winload.exe” can be infected with a virus and carry out malicious intent, it is important that you understand its location on your computer so that you can distinguish the real file from the malicious one. harmful.

The location of the winload.exe file is Windows Boot Loader (the file is being talked about in this article) located in the folder C:WindowsSystem32. This will never change and is exactly the same no matter what version of Windows you are using.

If the “winload.exe” file is found anywhere else and is marked as malicious by your antivirus program, then the file is most likely unsafe. In this case, you can delete the file because it is not the actual boot file.

Winload.exe related errors

If winload.exe is corrupted or somehow deleted, Windows may not work as it should and display an error message.

Here are some common winload.exe error messages:

  • Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause
  • winload.exe is missing or corrupt
  • “WindowsSystem32winload.exe” cannot be trusted because of its digital signature
  • Status 0xc0000428

Important Note:

Don’t try to fix the missing or damaged winload.exe file by downloading a copy from the Internet! The copy you find online could be malware, masquerading as the file you’re looking for. Additionally, even if you download an online copy, the original winload.exe file (in the . folder) System32) is also write-protected, so it cannot be easily replaced.

The first thing you should do after encountering one of the above errors is to check your entire computer for malware. However, instead of using a traditional antivirus program that runs from within Windows, use free bootable antivirus tools. Assuming the winload.exe problem is caused by malware, then this could be a really simple fix for your problem.

If the virus scan doesn’t help, try writing a new partition boot sector and rebuilding the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store, this should fix any corrupt entries related to winload.exe. These solutions can be implemented in Windows 11, 10 and 8 through Advanced Startup Options and in Windows 7 and Windows Vista with System Recovery Options.

Another way to fix the winload.exe error is to run sfc /scannow, which will replace the missing or damaged system file.

Another winload.exe error unrelated to the above errors says:

A component of the operating system has expired. File: windowssystem32winload.exe

You may get this error if Windows has reached its license expiration date, this happens if you are using a preview version of Windows.

With this type of error, your computer will probably restart automatically every few hours in addition to displaying an error message. When this happens, running a virus scan and file repair tool won’t do you any good. You will need to install a valid, full version of Windows with a working product key for the activation process to complete normally.

More information about Winload.exe

BOOTMGR will start winresume.exe instead of winload.exe if the computer is in hibernation. winresume.exe is located in the same directory as winload.exe.

Copies of winload.exe can be found in subfolders of C:Windows, as Boot and WinSxS, and possibly other directories.

In UEFI-based systems, winload.exe is called winload.efi and can be found in the same directory System32. The EFI extension is only executable for the boot manager that exists in the UEFI firmware.


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