Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
I often recommend Process Explorer because it's a really good way of identifying programs that are misbehaving.
Hi. I read your response to slow computers where you recommend running the Process Explorer. I've done that but when it shows the processes running I'm not savvy enough to know which one should or should not be running. How can I find that out once I know what is running? I scare myself with how much I don't know. Thanks for any help.
In this excerpt from Answercast #66, I look at how Process Explorer can be used to identify which programs (if any) are using too many resources.
You know, I scare myself with that same knowledge. It seems like every day I learn something new, and one of the things I learn is how much I don't know!
In this particular case, the Process Explorer?
My recommendation to use Process Explorer isn't really to take an inventory of what's running on your machine. If your machine is slow, and you take a look at the "CPU Usage" column, Process Explorer gives you a quick way to identify which process on your computer is using more of the CPU then the rest of the processes. If something is using 95% of your CPU all the time, then your computer may very well be slow and it may very well be a problem.
The point of using Process Explorer is to at least identify what that one executable, what that one program is. Then you can use everything from Google to Ask Leo! to find out whether that program is a problem - and if so, what to do about it.
So, the problem of course is... you asked, "I'm not savvy to enough to know which one should or should not be running." Guess what? Neither am I!
What should or should not be running depends on so many different things:
It depends on your machine.
It depends on your hardware.
It depends on the software you're running.
It depends on how you use your machine.
The processes you will find on your machine are going to be dramatically different than the processes you will find on mine, for example.
So like I said, it's not so much about taking an inventory of everything that's running on your machine. There's really not a lot of good use for that.
What it is useful for, though, is identifying which of the processes that are running on your machine may be misbehaving.
Sorting by the "CPU" column is one way to do that; you can just click on the CPU heading. You may have to click on it twice to get the sort direction the way you expect it to be. Then at the top of the list you'll see the processes that are using the most CPU at any one point in time.
You can add columns for things like memory usage and IO usage and so forth.
That's why I keep referring to Process Explorer, because it's a really good way
of identifying programs that are misbehaving. They give you that data point
that says, "it's this program." From there you can then start doing some
research to find out whether or not that program is misbehaving or is
behaving as expected.
End of Answercast 66 Back to - Audio Segment
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