What Are the Processes Running on My PC?

If you spend any time examining the Task Manager, you will be amazed at the number of processes running on your PC. But what do they do and how can we find out? Is it safe to stop or disable them?

Processes Header

If you spend any time examining the Task Manager, you will be amazed at the number of processes running on your PC. But what do they do and how can we find out? Is it safe to stop or disable them?

This is for Windows operating system

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What is a Process

A process or running process refers to a set of instructions currently being processed by the computer processor.

Windows Processes are Windows Services and background programs you normally don’t see running on the computer. A process may be a printer program that runs in the background and monitors the ink levels and other printer settings while the computer is running.

A typical computer has dozens to hundreds of processes running all of the time to help manage the operating system, its hardware and the software running on the computer. Refer to below image of my running processes (I have over 150) with one open application (WordPress) under Google Chrome. The sort order is by the Memory column.

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Running Processes on my PC

Also, note that Google Chrome has 32 instances of the program running. Just click the arrow next to the Name field to expand the list. See following image:

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Instances of Googel Chrome processes

Start the Task Manager

There are a couple of ways to start the Task Manager.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del and click on the Task Manager option
  2. Right-click on the Start button then click on the Task Manager option. See below image;
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Starting the Task Manager

Stop a Process

Next, highlight a running process, then right-click and select End Task. You would do this if you are unable to normally close a program/task or a program/ task is consuming a lot of memory and/or CPU. Refer to below image:

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End a process

Search a Process

What is this process your machine is running? Highlight a process, right-click and select Search Online. Your Microsoft browser will open with the search results for your highlighted process. See below image:

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Search online for the selected process definition

Other Features

You can sort any column by clicking on the column heading, just like in Excel.

You may highlight a process, then select Resource value, From here, select an option, then select how you want to view the process, Percents or Values. See following image:

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Showing Percents or Values option

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I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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