There are some free utilities for Windows that everyone should have—utilities that if I were Microsoft, I'd include as part of the operating system. One such program is Process Explorer, Mark Russinovich's replacement for Task Manager.
I've written before about Process Explorer and the many really useful features crammed into it, and I've resolved to keep people posted about major revisions to the program in case they're not yet convinced.
Process Explorer is now at version 10.2, and a quick rundown of the new features in it since the last major update should be reason alone for you to add it to your utility arsenal.
64-bit support for both Itanium and AMD64 processors, and a signed 64-bit x64 driver for Windows Vista. Depending on which OS you're running, you'll want to download the appropriate binary; if you want to "back-port" PE to Windows 9x/ME, there's a version for that as well. Also included are Vista-specific data such as the integrity level and virtualized processor information. If you're running Vista in beta form, try PE on it; it'll make for a nice way to get that much more familiar with the underpinnings of the OS.
Service permissions viewing and editing. This lets you inspect the permissions for running services and change them. Many services throw failures because of unexpected permissions problems, so this is yet another way to debug that particular issue, by seeing permissions in situ.
More detailed I/O and memory-history information in the I/O, memory and CPU graphs.
A Show New Processes option, which recenters the display to show newly launched processes in the Process window, so you can watch new processes being launched in a "hands-off" fashion.
New DLL options, such as the ability to show pagefile-backed/unnamed sections in the DLL view; consolidated searching for DLLs and handles; more details in the DLL Properties dialog; optional highlighting for packed DLLs; DLLs that host SvcHost processes are show in Services tab along with regular services; etc.
Data from the Process, DLL and Handle views can all be copied easily to the Clipboard.
Handle view now has file object share flags, which indicate what available actions can be performed on a file that has been opened by a given process.
My personal favorite new feature is this one: The File menu now has a Runas command to let you quickly launch a process under different credentials. For quick access to running something in reduced privileges, the File menu also has a Run As Limited User function.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.
More information on this topic:
- Tip: Freeware outshines Task Manager
- Topics: Systems management
- RSS: Sign up for our RSS feed to receive expert advice every day.