What Is Winload.exe & Some Additional Information About It [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is Winload.exe

Winload.exe (Windows Boot Loader), a small piece of software, is called a system loader, which is booted by BOOTMGR. Actually, it is a built-in utility in Windows 10. The main task of winload.exe is to load necessary device drivers and the core part in Windows – ntoskrnl.exe.


While in old Windows operating systems such as Windows XP, the load of ntoskrnl.exe is completed by NTLDR that serves as the boot manager too. Therefore, if winload.exe is damaged or missing, you will not be able to use a Windows 10 based tablet, laptop or desktop.

The above description is a brief introduction of winload.exe. To get more details about winload exe, please continue reading this post of MiniTool.

Is winload.exe a virus? This is a question asked by plenty of people. Given to that phenomenon, the following part will analyze it further and show you the answer.

Is Windows.exe a Virus

As mentioned earlier, winload.exe is a small piece of software. However, some antivirus websites and other file information sites will mark winload.exe as a kind of malware. Sometimes, it is even regarded as unnecessary and can be deleted. But this is partly true.

Though a winload.exe file that is infected by virus has malicious content, the key point is to find the exact location of the file in the computer. By doing so, you can distinct the true file and possible malicious file copy.

The winload.exe file is located in C:\Windows\System32\ folder. No matter what version of Windows you are suing, its location will never change. Hence, if you find a winload.exe file in any other locations and it marked as malicious file by antivirus programs, it is very likely a malicious file. In this case, you can delete it entirely.

In one word, the winload.exe itself is not a virus, but it can be infected by other malicious content and do harmful to your computer.

You may encounter some errors related to winload.exe due to winload exe file damage and deletion. Here are some common winload.exe error messages.

  • Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
  • exe is missing or corrupt.
  • “\Windows\System32\winload.exe” cannot be trusted because of its digital signature.
  • Status 0xc0000428
Tip: Don’t attempt to solve a missing or corrupt winload.exe file via downloading a copy from the Internet! The copy could be malware and pretend the file that you are looking for. Besides, the original winload.exe file in C:\Windows\System32\ is write-protected, so it is not easy to be replaced.

The first thing you need to do is to check your computer for malware after receiving the above error messages. You’d better use a free bootable antivirus tool rather than a traditional antivirus program that runs from inside Windows. If this method fails to work, you can try writing a new partition boot sector and rebuilding BCD.

Both the two methods can help you fix any corrupt entries that contain winload.exe. You can also run sfc /scannow to replace the missing or corrupted system file.

There is another winload.exe Windows 10 error can be displayed as below.

A component of the operating system has expired. File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

If a Windows preview version has reached its license expiration date, you might receive such message. Besides, your computer will restart every few hours. For such kind of error type, it is no use running virus scan and file repair. You need to install a full and valid version of Windows with a working product key to activate PC.

Extra Information about Winload.exe

Here is some extra information that you should know about Window system32 windload exe. If the computer is in hibernation mode, BOOTMGR will boot winresume.exe instead of winload.exe. You need to pay attention to the fact that winresume.exe and winload.exe are located in the same folder.

Copies of winload.exe, Boot and WinSxS can be found in the subfolders of C:\Windows. Winload.exe is called winload.efi under UEFI based system. The EFI extension is executable only for the boot manager that is located in the UEFI firmware.

Final Words

As an important component in operating system, winload.exe plays a role in loading device drivers. To sum up, this post mainly discusses the definition, properties of winload.exe Windows 10, some errors related to winload.exe and solutions to the errors. Read here, you may have a comprehensive understanding of winload.exe (Windows Boot Loader). 

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