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What is MRT.exe and Why is it Using High CPU and Memory?

MRT.exe is a legitimate windows programs and short name for Malicious Removal Tool. It consumes the resources which it needs to perform its functions and that’s the reasons why the CPU and memory usage spikes up.

There a multiple reasons why mrt.exe consumes high CPU resources. The Malicious Removal Tool is a Windows’ very own removal tool. So, the next time you see mrt.exe running in Task Manager then don’t get worried, it’s not a virus. This tool is updated when there is a Windows update (probably every month). Whenever the Windows update takes place, the tool gets updated but it should not run after that.

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In fact, the tool doesn’t run the whole month. If you see the CPU usage high once a month then no need to worry. The alarming situation is when you see mrt.exe running continuously in the Task Manager because as we said, the tool is supposed to run once every month and that too after a Windows update. Get to know that there’s a virus that is pretending to be mrt.exe file.

Locating and Deleting Mrt.exe

The Malicious Removal Tool is located in C:\Windows\system32. If it is not there, search the entire drive to make sure to check the search options to “search system folders”, “search hidden files and folders”, and “search subfolders”. If it is found elsewhere then it’s a virus that is pretending to be mrt.exe. You need to delete the file.

Following are the steps to locate and delete the file found elsewhere other than C:\Windows\system32 location.

  1. Hold Windows key + E.
  2. CTRL + F.
  3. Type mrt.exe and press enter.
  4. Wait for Windows to search for the file.
  5. There should be one mrt.exe. If you find more, simply right click and Open file location. Right-click and delete the file.

Alternatively,

  1. Hold Windows Key + R.
  2. Type %systemroot%\debug in the run command.
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  3. A window will open and you should see a file named mrt.log.
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  4. Open mrt.log with Notepad and you will see something like this:
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  5. If there is an error in the log file the post it here – Write to Microsoft
  6. Make sure you don’t delete the file in C:\Windows\system32.
  7. If you can’t locate the file, press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open Task Manager, search for mrt.exe task. Select End Task. Repeat the steps again to delete the task.

This should solve the problem for high CPU usage. We still recommend you to scan your system with a reliable and reputable security application.

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