The even greater wonders of Process Explorer

May 23, 2007 at 2:57 pm (Microsoft, Networking, Sysadmin, Tech, Tech support, Troubleshooting)

Last week I wrote about ;The Wonders of Task Manager. This was to highlight some of the lesser-known yet immensely useful features of the Microsoft Task Manager. Task Manager is one of the most common tools I use and over the years I’ve learned to love it with the special kind of love a craftsman reserves for his favorite tools. Well wouldn’t you know? The very next day fate decided to play a little game with me and introduce me to what has become my new flame. Yes, it’s true, my faithless heart has discarded the faithful task manager, replacing it with a newer, shinier and even more useful tool. – Process Explorer.

It’s been a week, and while some might say my judgment is clouded by immense feelings of bliss, I will say that Process Explorer is the new love of my life (and by “life” i Mean an indeterminable time period spanning from last week until something even better comes along.) Developed by Well-known Microsoft developer Dr. Mark Russinovich. It is designed to duplicate many of the functions of Task manager, allowing you to see performance statistics such as the amount of CPU cycles being used, How much memory is currently being used by applications, What apps and processes are running etc. In fact it even comes with an option that allows you to replace the older task manager with the new tool so that it will launch every time you would normally launch Task Manager.

The difference between Task Manager and Process Explorer is in the detail you can view. Process Explorer allows you to get far more details about not only which processes are running, it will also let you get the skinny on what files,registry keys , threads etc are used by the process. This can be very useful when trying to troubleshoot why a certain process is consuming an inordinate amount of resources. It can also be extremely useful if you’re analyzing a process to determine if it’s legit or possible Malware.

Process Explorer also has a System Information screen closely resembling Task Manager’s Performance tab, the main benefit being again more detail, another nice benefit is that it displays I/O bytes as well as CPU and Memory usage.

I strongly recommend trying it out for yourselves. The tool is freeware and can be downloaded from Microsoft. I’d be interested to hear other views on this great tool, so feel free to leave a comment.

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