What is mcagent.exe?

The genuine mcagent.exe file is a software component of McAfee Security Center by McAfee LLC.
"McAgent.exe" is a process included in most or all McAfee cybersecurity programs as it is involved in the McAfee Security Center, the common graphical user interface (GUI) for all McAfee products. It installs in "C:\Program Files\\Agent\mcagent.exe". Uninstalling one McAfee product may not remove it if other products that need it are present. Selecting "McAfee Inc" under the Control Panel's uninstallation applet may remove the wrong product. Note that in enterprise computers managed by ePolicy Orchestrator, "the McAfee Agent" refers to the McAfee Common Framework, and that in Dell computers sold in Australia, "Security Center" is a marketing name for a package of multiple McAfee products, (VirusScan, SiteAdvisor, and others). Founded as "McAfee Associates" in 1987 by John McAfee, (who later resigned), McAfee LLC has become the world's largest company dedicated to computer security, re-established as a stand-alone company in 2017 after several years as "Intel Security Group."

McAgent stands for McAfee Interface Management Agent

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the mcagent.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

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Mcagent.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with mcagent
Mcagent.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as McAfee Security Center or McAfee Integrated Security Platform belongs to software McAfee SecurityCenter by McAfee (

Description: Mcagent.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. The mcagent.exe file is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files" (typically C:\Program Files\\Agent\). Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 537,992 bytes (14% of all occurrences), 1,675,160 bytes and 20 more variants. 
Mcagent.exe is not a Windows system file. It is digitally signed. It is a Verisign signed file. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: MACHINE\Run). Mcagent.exe is able to monitor applications and record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 12% dangerous, but you should also take into account the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: You can do the following:
  1) uninstall the program using the Control Panel ⇒ Uninstall a ProgramMcAfee, Inc. or McAfee SecurityCenter
  2) contact Customer Service.

Recommended: Identify mcagent.exe related errors

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as mcagent.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the mcagent.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

a McAfee SecurityCenter Agent. Part of the McAfee pack.
  Tom Lin  
Part of McAfee Internet Security Suite. This process ensures the computer's virus definations are up to date by communicating with the McAfee VirusScan server on the network. This program is important for the stable and secure running of your computer and should not be terminated.
  Elric Ward  
This is a file that comes included with your McAfee virus scanning Software usually preinstalled on new computers. Location is default "C:\Program Files\\agent\McAgent.exe
  Jesse Bevil  
McAfee SecurityCenter Agent. Part of the McAfee pack
This file can be replaced by a trojan that ran a spyware on my computer and wasn't therefore detected by McAfee VirusScan but rather by a spyware detection program. The change cause a drastic slowdown in my connection speed.
this file will then try as, masalert.exe and then as mcappins.exe it is very persistant to access and reconfigure itself to start with windows
  Ralph Cerminara  
The Red M Icon can sometimes fill up the entire taskbar. I've had as many as 37 of them show up before *swiped* them. Just moving the cursor over the M makes it disappear. Major annoyance.
It's a Anti-Virus program
I removed McAfee Antivirus and McAfee Spamkiller a long time ago. Typing 'msconfig' in 'Start/Run' I have recently discovered that 'mcagentexe, mskagentexe and mskdetectorexe' still appear in startup manager. If I go into the registry and delete the entries there, when I next restart the computer they are back in the startup manager window again and in the registry. Obviously there is a program somewhere on my computer which keeps putting them into the registry.
  John Watson  
If you've uninstalled McAfee and mcagent keeps popping back up, try this: turn off your system restore; delete any instance of mcagent.exe from your C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch (or similar) folder and your registry; delete the offending program; run a quick "Search" through your computer to locate any more instances and if found, remove them; make a second pass your your registry and prefetch folders, just in case; Restart; enable System Restore and check for the program. If it seems gone, do one more restart for good measure, just to be sure it's not a problem with your System Restore.
  Joshua Priddy  
Definitely part of the McAfee SecurityCenter suite, though I still recommend "un-hiding" all your system et al files and running spyware/virus/etc. scan using another scanner; any instance of it sitting anywhere other than your Program Files is not a healthy instance.
It didn't detect some kind of malware - XP locked me out - had to reinstall OS
If MCAGENT.EXE is still listed in your taskbar notifications section on Windows 7 (& Vista) try running the 'McAfee Consumer Product Removal tool' that can be downloaded from and will completely remove all traces of the McAfee suite that was not removed during the uninstall process.
  Stephen   (further information)
This file is needed if you have McAfee Antivirus, one of the best paid anti virus program.
  Danomite   (further information)
I cannot use McAfee without this file
  Ajoy G Adhikari  
Nothing it just showed up as a file needing to shut down before computer would shut down. Quite annoying

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of mcagent.exe: based on 20 votes with 16 user comments. 5 users think mcagent.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 3 users think it's probably harmless. 5 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 4 users suspect danger. 3 users think mcagent.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 5 users don't grade mcagent.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving mcagent issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with mcagent. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the mcagent.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

mcagent.exe [all]