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.