Figuring out what all those processes on XP are


My windows XP boxes have all been acting up and looking at the task manager shows dozens and dozens of processes running. So much junk gets installed by the manufacturer (my Thinkpad easily has 20 custom processes that run just to make all the special features work), and other programs install all sorts of other things that run in the background. I needed to find out what some of these things did so that I could either disable them at startup or deinstall the programs.

I found 2 things that I found pretty useful. First is a freeware utility and service called What Process? (see screenshot). This utility shows you a list of all running processes on your machine, from that list you can then click thru to a web directory that gives you more information on each program. For instance this is what the programs wmiprvse.exe does.

Another service that provide a directory of processes is This provides a search and directory of Windows Processes. This generally has more detail than “What Process?”, but is not as comprhensive.

After all these years of using Windows, I still feel like it’s Black Magic. I never felt that way about U*nx. Sigh! Makes you wish for a Mac…. 


~ by Ash Patel on October 17, 2005.

One Response to “Figuring out what all those processes on XP are”

  1. This sounds useful. Whenever my windows box starts getting slow I start hunting through the task manager list and am tempted to play Russian Roulette with the processes. i.e., start killing processes and hope that I don't crash the machine. At least this way i might have a clue about what I'm killing first.

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