How to View All Windows Processes Using the Task Manager - dummies

How to View All Windows Processes Using the Task Manager

By Dan Gookin

Windows runs a lot of processes. Normally, the Task Manager window displays only the processes that relate to your account in Windows. To see the whole lot of them, including processes that Windows runs but doesn’t want you to mess with, do this:

In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click the button Show Processes from All Users. If prompted, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password.

In Windows XP, place a check mark by the item Show Processes from All Users.

The length of the list of items shown on the Processes tab grows slightly. You see a few more items in the list. Here are some things you can do:

  • To sort the list by process name, click the Image Name column heading.

  • Sort the list by the CPU column to find out how much processor time is being used by various processes. (To see the most time-consuming processes listed first, ensure that the triangle at the top of the CPU column is pointing upward.)

  • Don’t freak out because the System Idle Process might be using a vast amount of the CPU’s time — sometimes up to 99 percent. That’s normal. Running the System Idle Process is what the computer does when it’s not doing anything else. That’s probably because the computer doesn’t have access to cable television.

  • Yes, the End Process button is used to kill off a highlighted process. Don’t use this button randomly because it adversely affects your PC.