The Windows Task Manager is a functional but basic tool for keeping an eye on applications and activity on your computer. If you want to go beyond the built-in tool and get a closer look, check out today’s offerings.
Note: Clicking on the screenshots below will enlarge the screenshots to their original size.
Process Hacker (Windows, Free)
Anvir Task Manager (Windows, Basic: Free, Premium: $US39.95)
Process Explorer (Windows, Free)
Process Explorer is the free and portable offering from Microsoft. Process Explorer is like the standard task manager on steroids. You still get a list of processes, you still see charts of your usage, but both give you significantly more information and control over the information. Unlike the default manager, Process Explorer makes it easy to track down which file is being held by which program and get to the bottom of computer mysteries like why a certain DLL or DOC file simply cannot be deleted. It also shows which service is performing which function so you’ll never look at a long and repetitive list of Windows system executables that are indistinguishable from each other—every one will be associated with its function.
Extended Task Manager (Windows, Free)
If you want more than the default task manager can offer but you’re not sure if you need some of the advanced featured offered by other nominees in this week’s Hive Five, Extended Task Manager is a great compromise. Extended Task Manger can display locked files and which process is locking them, help you terminate specific processes to free files, provides a summary overview of your resource usage, and allows you to pause and resume processes. Note: we ended up having to test Extended Task Manager on one of our Windows XP machines after it failed to launch in Windows 7 64-bit. Whether this is a result of being launched in Windows 7 or in a 64-bit environment is unknown.
System Explorer (Windows, Free)
Can’t believe your favourite didn’t make it? Shocked you’ve been using the default task manager for so long? Sound off in the comments below.