Process Explorer

A powerful free Windows system tool that you ought to have.

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License Free
Link Process Explorer
Shows active processes, powerful search capability, online search about the processes, kill processes that are hung or suspicious.
The interface may appear daunting but help files are provided.

Do you ever want to know which program is using a particular file or DLL? Or wonder what some process is doing and where it came from? You can get your answers from a powerful free Windows system utility that many know about but generally don’t take advantage of. It’s called Process Explorer and, if you spend any time using and maintaining Windows systems, you will want to add it to your toolbox.

It is from the well-known collection of system utilities created by Sysinternals and can be found at the link above. It has been likened by some to Task Manager on steroids.

The utility has a display which is split into two windows as shown in the example below.

The top window shows a list of the currently active processes. The bottom window contains information that depends on the mode that you select. For example, it may show the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded.

Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded. Another feature that can be very useful is the ability to go online and find out what a process does and what its origin is.

Right-click a process and the context menu has an entry that will take you to an online search page about the process. This can be very useful for checking a suspicious process. Also, like Task Manager, Process Explorer can be used to kill processes that are hung or suspicious.

The interface may appear daunting to some at first glance but the utility comes with a good help function that uses an accompanying CHM file. There is also a Microsoft Q&A section on technical questions about Process Explorer here.

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2 thoughts on “Process Explorer

  • 2021-08-11 at 05:19

    How to have shortcut for Windows 10 Process Explorer to show Office Apps?
    My challenge is resource causing Office App freeze when need arise to open a large document in the middle of several apps running. I really prefer ez way to avoid closing apps and reopen them etc as solution.

    Reason to avoid closing apps include:

    some app may be running & it is inconvenient & time consuming to close them and redo them later

    coming back to where I was interrupted is still dependent on my memory ability which may fade as day go on.

    how else to come back to where I was Interrupted with one click (just like sleep button on whole computer) ?

    Therefore, I am considering suspending apps which sounds like putting them to sleep; after I finished said large document, then I resume them & continue with my previous task seamless.

    But Process Explorer shows too many processes that I don’t think I need to see.

    Is it possible to show

    Ⓐ only Office Apps?

    Ⓑ Group some processes to make it ez to Suspend/Resume instead of each process

    Ⓒ how to use Process Explorer to ⒈ prevent freezing of Office App ⒉detect high risk of freezing


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