Process Explorer: Feature rich system monitor utility for Windows

Microsoft Process Explorer - Main user interface

Using Windows Task Manager to view information about processes is OK for most users, but if you are a more technical person, you are going to love Process Explorer from Microsoft. This is a feature rich system monitor utility created by Mark Russinovich that can display a lot more information about running processes in Windows when compared to the traditional Windows Task Manager, for example, it has the ability to display which file or directory a particular program is using, and also shows handles and DLLs processes that has been loaded or opened.

Process Explorer was well designed to show as much helpful information as possible, making it a great tool to troubleshoot Windows problems and programs issues; also very helpful for programmers to debug software.

The user interface consists of two parts: The first (top) is where you will find all the active processes currently running in your system, using a really simple and intuitive tree format that not only displays the process name but also the process ID, memory usage, program icon, description, etc. And the second part (bottom) will display information depending on the Process Explorer mode handles or DLLs. And of course you also get all the features from the good old Windows Task Manger.

Some other features include:

  • If you cannot recognize what that certain process does, you have the ability to start an online search right from inside Process Explorer.
  • You can drill down inside of specific process, such as the svchost.exe to see which files are being used.
  • You can hover with the mouse over a specific process and a tooltip will display useful information like command line, file path, and services.

Process Explorer - Details

  • Process finder, you can utilize this feature to locate a specific process being used by a program. You can easily try it by clicking and dragging this iconProcess-Explorer-Process-finder-icon to a window and Process Explorer will locate which processes are being used.
  • If you tried Process Explorer and liked it, you can go to the file menu, click on Options and select Replace Task Manager and it will take over the Windows Task Manager; the next time you use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc Process Explorer will load instead.
  • And if all this information wasn’t enough, you can try right-clicking a process and select Properties, there you will find more than enough information about the process such as: TCP/IP, Performance, Disk and Network, Performance Graph, and much more.

Process Explorer - Properties

These were just of some of the features of many more that you can find in this Windows program, so if you are serious about finding out what is running on your system or you need to troubleshoot Windows problems, Process Explorer is a great system monitor utility that you should give a try.

Useful Links

Note: Process Explorer runs in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2003 and higher.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].