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Fix 'COM Surrogate has stopped working' error in Windows Vista

Fix 'COM Surrogate has stopped working' error in Windows Vista
Photo by Lorenzo Herrera / Unsplash

A recent and annoying ‘bug’ in Windows Vista (both 32- and 64-bit versions) is the ‘COM surrogate has stopped working’ error. This happens almost whenever you browse a folder containing media files like mp3, avi, wav etc. A lot of people have attributed this to the presence of non Vista-compatible codecs installed on the computer. There are various ways to fix this annoying error. Here are some of the most common ones doing the round.

  1. Update the DivX codec to the latest version
  2. Update (or even Uninstall) Nero to the latest version
  3. Disable Thumbnail View

But, the best (and the least tedious solution), in my opinion, seems to be turning off Data Execution Prevention (DEP) for the culprit, dllhost.exe, in this case. Here are the simple steps you need to take to do this.

  • Right-click on My Computer and select Properties
  • Click on Advanced System Settings
  • Select the Advanced tab, and then Settings under Performance
  • Select Data Execution Prevention
  • Choose Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select
  • Click on Add
  • Browse to Windows->System32 directory
  • Select dllhost.exe and click Open
  • Click Ok when Windows warns you
  • Click Ok twice, and you are done
  • You might have to reboot your system, if Windows asks you to, for the changes to take effect. I didn’t have to.