Microsoft provides a free task manager and system monitor, named System Center Operations Monitor, that gives an improved view of processes than Windows Task Manager. As part of their Sysinternals suite, this program can also help debug software or identify which processes are consuming CPU resources.
Display of Processes Hierarchically (with child processes nestled under their parents) A bottom window contains information based on which mode has been selected; handle mode shows open handles while DLL mode lists loaded DLLs
What is Process Explorer?
Process Explorer is a system tool for Windows which enables users to monitor what processes are currently running on their computer. As its name suggests, Process Explorer provides users with an overview of everything running on the machine. Part of Microsoft’s free Sysinternals suite of tools, Process Explorer enables IT administrators and end users to quickly diagnose why something is not functioning as expected or whether malware has infiltrated a machine. Taking up where Task Manager leaves off, Process Explorer offers more in-depth data regarding what processes are currently active such as CPU usage tracking or finding which process loaded DLL files among many other things.
Process Explorer is an easy and user-friendly tool with an interface similar to that of Windows OS. Once launched, its upper window lists all processes currently on your computer in hierarchical form for easy identification of child processes; its lower window provides a zoomed-in view of each process’s handles and DLLs; this data may change depending on which mode is selected when Process Explorer launches; for instance if using Handle mode it displays integer values used as handles while DLL mode shows memory-mapped files that have been loaded by this process; unlike its users will quickly familiarity makes its use simple yet sophisticated!
Process Explorer goes beyond traditional system monitoring tools, providing real-time system monitoring that allows users to troubleshoot and optimize their Windows computers. Its graphs display CPU, GPU, disk, and network activity for any selected process; its detailed process history feature helps identify root cause of issues while its log of process events allows further troubleshooting efforts.
Right-click a process and select “Properties”. For instance, to gain more in-depth information about its TCP/IP connections or listening ports a process is making, just click on the tab labeled TCP/IP Connections. From there you can figure out ways to stop malicious communications with that process.
Also, with this tool it is possible to kill processes; however, be mindful when using this feature, as doing so without proper knowledge could prove hazardous. Therefore it is recommended that this feature only be utilized if you understand exactly what each process does and why; alternatively use Google VirusTotal service’s VirusTotal service when investigating suspicious-looking processes for possible malware; Mark Russinovich uses this feature extensively when hunting down malicious software.
How to Use Process Explorer
Process Explorer is an in-depth, visual system monitoring program with similar features to Windows Task Manager; however, its additional features make it even more effective. Part of Sysinternals Process Utilities suite, it features live CPU activity graphing and detailed process information which allow users to identify software problems more efficiently as well as troubleshoot performance issues and optimize business processes more effectively.
Process Explorer’s Handle Mode provides an invaluable way to view all the handles that a selected process has opened, providing an effective tool for diagnosing programs that lock files or malware detection. Accessible from either the Tools menu or by pressing Ctrl+H or CTRL+D, its bottom window shows all opened handles; in DLL mode this window shows which DLLs or memory-mapped files were loaded by that process.
Process Explorer makes finding specific handles or DLLs quickly using its powerful search function, saving valuable time when trying to identify which program holds them hostage preventing editing or deleting of certain files.
If you are trying to identify and eliminate malware infections or simply want to make sure your system remains clean, being able to instantly kill processes with one click is an invaluable feature. Furthermore, using this approach instead of Windows Task Manager (which does not offer as much safety), can save valuable time when closing processes.
If you use Process Explorer regularly, you can configure it to replace the Windows Task Manager by selecting “Replace Task Manager” in its Options menu. When right-clicking a process it will instead launch Process Explorer instead of opening its usual Windows tool.
Celonis EMS goes beyond Process Explorer with its suite of process analytics tools that provide real-time event data from operational systems to show you exactly how your processes function, using objective event data collected in real-time from operational systems. We call these process x-rays; these “x-rays” can identify inefficiencies or potential security threats before they impact your business. To learn more, watch the Process X-rays in Action webinar or visit our website – you can even try them in your own environment with our free trial trial trial so you’ll see why we say Celonis EMS is THE only process analyzer you need!
Advantages of Process Explorer
This article goes further to demonstrate why this utility outstrips Task Manager by outlining how it displays a comprehensive process tree of all child processes and their parents; displays memory statistics; offers powerful search capabilities for quickly finding programs with particular handles or DLLs open or loaded; calculate hashes; log process events; display who launched any suspicious-looking process, as well as check its integrity against Google’s VirusTotal service (a project created to detect malware).
Process Explorer’s array of features make it a valuable asset when troubleshooting performance issues, from tracking DLL-version issues and leaks, to giving valuable insight into how Windows and applications perform. Available free on Sysinternals’ website, there are plenty of customizable configuration settings that enable you to tailor it specifically to meet your needs.
Viewing open files or just those mapped to the process’s address space is particularly useful in identifying what has been removed from a file system, while tracking which process owns named resources is invaluable when trying to understand why another program cannot access certain files as intended. Furthermore, the lower pane can also display DLLs or OCXs loaded by selected processes (or both); this feature is particularly helpful for tracking down malicious software which often uses DLLs with similar names as system DLLs – particularly helpful for tracking down malware that uses DLLs similar in terms of name that conceal its activities from detection!
An additional unique feature is that this utility allows users to quickly verify whether a suspicious process is malware by running it through VirusTotal, a Google project which compares suspicious processes against databases from major antivirus vendors. This enables fast verification on whether questionable processes may or may not contain viruses without having to wait for Mark Russinovich’s “The Case of…” blog posts and videos for an answer.
One feature not discussed here is that the program allows for pausing updates, which is especially useful when viewing processes whose states change constantly due to spawning of child processes and termination thereof. Individual processes can also be killed off, or, for complete process trees, capture and printout snapshots for further examination.
Celonis EMS is a business process management solution that removes the need for analyst resources by showing how your processes actually function using objective event data collected in real time from operational systems. EMS features several tools, including Variant Explorer and Process Explorer that work together to accelerate time to insights. To discover more about how Celonis EMS can help identify process issues as they happen, get in touch with us.