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Best Free Alternatives to the Windows Task Manager

Updated on January 13, 2012

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Which program do you turn to when you need to kill a hanging Windows process or check your resource usage? You press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Windows Task Manager. This little piece of software can be very useful when you need to troubleshoot your computer or when you just want to poke around and learn more about what's running on your computer. But, like many things in Windows, the built-in Task Manager doesn't have enough features for advanced troubleshooting. In fact, its restricted features can be a pain in the neck when you need to find out which Windows process does what. Fortunately, there are great free Task Manager alternatives that have all the necessary features and will help you speed up computer performance.

1. Auslogics Task Manager

If you are looking for a free tool that can replace the standard Task Manager and do a lot more, then Auslogics Task Manager is the way to go. This little program has a very intuitive interface and can do a lot of the stuff the Windows Task Manager can't. With Auslogics Task Manager you can manage running applications, processes and Windows services, as well as look up network usage for each process and unlock locked files. The network usage feature helped me discover a virus that wasn't getting detected by my security software, so I was very glad that I switched to Auslogics Task Manager. You can download Auslogics Task Manager here.

2. Process Hacker

Process Hacker is another great free program to use instead or alongside the Windows Task Manager. It's an open source application and it's best suited for advanced computer users who can appreciate all of its advanced features. This program allows the users to do all kinds of things to running Windows processes, such as edit the virtual memory contents used by specific processes, alter the security level for selected processes, and view detailed information about each running process. You can download Process Hacker here.

3. Process Explorer

Process Explorer is a very lightweight app that doesn't even require installation. All you need to do is download the. exe file, put it on your desktop (or in any other folder) and run it whenever you need it. In fact, you can even run it from a USB drive, which is especially handy when you need to troubleshoot a friend's computer. My favourite Process Explorer feature is the option to expand process trees and look up which applications are using specific processes. This is especially handy when you are trying to figure out which applications and Windows features are using processes like svchost.exe. Process Explorer helped me identify malicious programs on numerous occasions and helped me fix all sorts of process-related problems on friends' PCs. You can download Process Explorer here.

These three programs are really good Windows Task Manager alternatives. Try them and you will never use the built-in Task Manager again.

© 2011 Snurre


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