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Top 5 Best Free Windows Process Viewer and Task Manager Utility

A process viewer is a software application similar to the task manager that comes with every Windows Operating System since Windows 95. Since the task manager is a quick and handy tool to get a general idea about running processes and is only good for killing them, sometimes a third party process viewer application might be more useful thanks to more refined features than Microsoft’s standard. Using such an application can help more serious users troubleshoot any problems they might be interacting which striving for optimal PC function.

1. System Explorer

System Explorer is favored by many users because it is extremely user friendly. Some of its very useful features include the ability to take and compare file and registry snapshots, to upload files to Virustotal, and to look up files or processes straight from the GUI online. The interface of this application is very organized and easy to work with, allowing you to view services, processes, IE add-ons, protocol filters and handlers for Explorer.

2. Process Explorer

Process Explorer is a freeware application that could be rated the best in its category; its only downfall is the lack of features. Compared to other freeware, this application is relatively very simple and is better suited to average users who only want to tame processes, or end particular ones. It has two modes: Handle and DLL, making it useful for tracking down handle leaks and DLL version problems. The freeware also helps one gain insight into the way the OS and apps work.

3. Process Hacker

Process Hacker is another freeware app, with an interface similar to that of Process Explorer. The only difference between the two is the drop down information bar in Process Explorer. This application has many useful features, for example, it allows you to end processes that you are not allowed to terminate in the Windows Task manager and even other apps in this category. This app can also be used to debug software and detect malware on the system. The app uses features like highlighting, graphs, statistics, segregating apps that are using network connections etc, that make it a very handy tool. Stack traces can be viewed with kernel-mode, WOW64 and .NET support, and services and be controlled as well as edited.

4. CurrProcess

CurrProcess is a freeware utility that displays all processes that are running on your system at any given point in time. Additional useful information like product name, version, company name, file description, file size etc are also displayed. The list of all modules (DLL files) that the process loads into memory can be viewed for each process. Using CurrProcess, you can change process priority, end processes, transfer process memory into a text file, create HTML reports containing required process information, save a list of processes into an HTML or text file, and copy process/module info to the clipboard.

5. Autostart and Process Viewer (APV)

APV helps you manage your startup programs and processes. It also generates a notification when a new program appears in the autostart. The downfall of this application is that it is only available for older versions of Windows (XP and NT only), hence the lowest rating. The app gives you control over apps that start with windows and shows the processes that are currently running on your computer. It allows you to ‘accept’ a process/program starting with windows and notifies you when a new, ‘unaccepted’ item appears, thus giving one the ability to detect Trojans and viruses.