From GEAR Software Knowledgebase
GEARSEC.EXE - Why is gearsec.exe running on my computer?
Applies to Products: All GEAR for Windows
Applies to Operating Systems: Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP
Summary: The Windows Task Manager shows gearsec.exe running as a process.
If the user does not have any GEAR products installed, can the file be removed?
Some users have reported that after updating to Windows XP SP2, they receive a 'gearsec.exe error' when booting the system.
Solution: The gearsec.exe driver (and associated GEAR Security service) were part of GEAR Software's older driver set which allows the GEAR CD/DVD Engine to recognize and work with CD and DVD drives on Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
The GEAR CD/DVD Engine is not only used in GEAR Software's products, but also in many 3rd party applications such as Apple's iTunes for Windows, Cakewalk's Pyro, Audible's AudibleManager and DiscWelder by Minnetonka Audio, to name a few. So, even if you do not have a GEAR Software application on your system, there may be other software applications that rely on the GEAR CD / DVD Engine, and the GEAR drivers.
If you uninstall the GEAR drivers, it would cause programs that rely on the GEAR drivers to lose CD or DVD reading or recording capability. Therefore, we recommend that you do not uninstall GEAR drivers. Older versions of the GEAR drivers included a driver named gearsec.exe. This driver could be seen when you view running processes or services. Some people reported that their system took longer to shut down when gearsec.exe was running. The GEAR drivers have been updated to no longer require gearsec.exe for most systems, and this reduces the shutdown time for Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems. The latest GEAR driver installer will install drivers that do not require gearsec.exe. The current installer will not remove gearsec.exe and the associated GEAR Security service from Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems. If you are using Windows NT 4.0, this installer will update your drivers without removing gearsec.exe, as it is still required for Windows NT systems.
Note that older versions of 3rd party applications using the GEAR CD/DVD Engine may still require gearsec.exe, and may check to see that gearsec.exe is installed. Removing gearsec.exe may result in these applications not functioning correctly. This includes Apple's iTunes for Windows version 4.2. If this occurs, please contact the manufacturer of the application to determine if an updated version of their software is available. You can reinstall the software so that gearsec.exe is installed.