Re­plac­ing Task Man­ager en­tirely


Once you get com­fort­able with it, you’ll dis­cover that Process Ex­plorer is bet­ter at man­ag­ing tasks than Task Man­ager in al­most ev­ery way, and you’ll never want to open Task Man­ager again. Process Ex­plorer can help you out with that.

In the Op­tions menu, you’ll see an item la­belled Re­place Task Man­ager. Se­lect that, and ev­ery ac­tion that would nor­mally have trig­gered Task Man­ager, whether you in­voke it from the com­mand prompt or se­lect it from the Ctrl + Alt + Delete menu, launches Process Ex­plorer in­stead. In Win­dows XP and ear­lier, that’s all you need to do, but in Win­dows 8 and 10, there’s a twist.

The Win­dows 8 and 10 ver­sions of Task Man­ager don’t just man­age pro­cesses. They also now han­dle startup items and ser­vice man­age­ment, which were lo­cated in MSCon­fig in ear­lier ver­sions of Win­dows. If you re­place that ver­sion of Task Man­ager with Process Ex­plorer, will you lose func­tion­al­ity? When it comes to ser­vices, no. The de­fault Ser­vices app built into Win­dows ( just type Ser­vices into your Start menu and you’ll find it) han­dles man­ag­ing your ser­vices just fine.

But when it comes to startup items, yes – you will lose func­tion­al­ity. Process Ex­plorer doesn’t han­dle those at all, so you’ll need an­other tool for that. That’s why we rec­om­mend that you down­load the en­tire Sys­in­ter­nals suite if you want to re­place Task Man­ager al­to­gether. There’s a util­ity in there called Au­toruns that ab­so­lutely blows Task Man­ager’s startup-item func­tion­al­ity out of the wa­ter. How to use Au­toruns is a sub­ject for a dif­fer­ent ar­ti­cle, but you’ll want to ex­tract that and keep it some­where handy for when you want to give your startup a tune-up.

Most peo­ple will use Process Ex­plorer for the fea­tures we’ve out­lined here, but dig deeper and you’ll find even more power-user tools in its nooks and cran­nies. If you re­ally want to get nit­tygritty, you can find more de­tails in Process Ex­plorer’s amaz­ingly deep Help files.

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