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wercon.exe - Windows Vista Error Reporting

Microsoft Windows Vista introduced a new process known as wercon.exe. This is a legitimate file, and it's related to a new Windows Error Reporting subsystem bundled into the new OS release. This is a legitimate process on Vista systems only. This file is not known to exist on prior versions, such as XP or 2000.

Reports have been noted of users receiving popup messages from the Vista UAC (User Account Control) security process, asking if wercon.exe should be allowed to access the Internet. Generally this should be permitted, since the process is designed to connect to a site at Microsoft in order to search for downloadable solutions to known Vista problems. The constant UAC requests are a common Vista annoyance and are well known.

Apparently Microsoft's new policy is to use the wercon.exe process in a manner similar to the YUM utility on Red Hat Linux, which connects periodically to a central server to check for hotfixes, patches, and other solutions. This may mean the traditional Windows Update model via Internet Explorer will become obsolete over time, but presently no further information is available.

It is not known whether wercon.exe transmits any personally identifying information to Microsoft while retrieving these updates. It's also possible a virus or malware application is masquerading as taskeng.exe in order to escape detection. The legitimate copy of wercon.exe will always be found in the system32 directory, e.g. C:\windows\system32. Other copies of this file found elsewhere on your PC should be treated with caution. No reports of malware impersonating this file have been found, but this situation could change at any time.

As always, if you suspect a malware infestation you should download and run a current copy of an antivirus/malware scanner in order to isolate and remove the offending application. Be sure to obtain the most recent definition files, since these are critical to the removal of current malware variants.

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