The ba­sics


When you first open Process Ex­plorer, there’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion there and it can look over­whelm­ing. Don’t panic. Here’s what ev­ery­thing is.

In the top half of the main win­dow, you’ll see a list of pro­cesses. This shouldn’t be com­pletely un­fa­mil­iar if you’ve used the De­tails tab in Task Man­ager (aka the Pro­cesses tab in Win­dows XP and ear­lier). It lists the process name, the process de­scrip­tion, CPU and memory usage, and the com­pany name of the soft­ware’s cre­ator – some­thing that’s very use­ful when you’re mal­ware hunt­ing. You can cus­tomise your col­umns to in­clude more or less in­for­ma­tion by right-click­ing on the col­umn head­ing, just like any other pro­gram with sortable col­umns.

The pro­cesses are pre­sented hi­er­ar­chi­cally, which means if a process spawns an­other process, the child process will be listed nested un­der­neath the parent. If you’d pre­fer an al­pha­bet­i­cal list­ing in­stead, just click the ‘process name’ col­umn head­ing. This list is con­stantly up­dat­ing, but if you want to freeze it in time – say, to ex­am­ine a process that ap­pears and dis­ap­pears quicker than you can click on it – you can hit the space bar to pause the up­dates.

There’s a lot more in­for­ma­tion here – the scrolling line charts at the top of the win­dow, the colour codes, the lower pane show­ing DLLs and han­dles – but for now let’s fo­cus on the process list. There’s a good chance you might find a group ex­ists, and join­ing this will put you in touch with plenty of peo­ple who might be able to aid you in your quest.

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