Reviewed on July 30, 2013
Process Hacker is a powerful process explorer that provides more functions than the stock Windows Task Manager. You can use it to monitor system resources, detect malware and even debug software to ensure your computer functions well. The free application displays all network connections, services and processes running on a computer using color codes to categorize them for fast and easy identification.
- Comprehensive and highlighted overview of system activity
- Displays process information using statistics and graphs for fast tracking of resource hogs
- Displays programs with active network connections
- Provides disk access information in real time
- Gives the ability to control, create and edit services
- Displays detailed stack traces with WOW64, kernel-mode and .NET support
- Allows copying of data using Ctrl+C
- Shows symbolic access marks
Using Process Hacker
Since Process Hacker is a portable process explorer, we can use it on different computers without multiple installs. We also found it relatively easy to use although it requires some understanding of resource usage and system processes among others. Color coding helped us to quickly identify related running processes. In addition to providing general guidance, the color codes also provide specific process peculiarities, such as own processes, new objects and debugged processes. The codes also help to detect malware by tagging dangerous processes. The notification system can help in preventing malicious files from executing without your knowledge.
We got more information about the processes by hovering over their names. The details included the services they were using, disk file and command line.
We used the application to suspend some running applications and terminated others altogether. We also provided relevant information so we could run some processes with different user accounts. We could toggle between system resource graphs to view them either concurrently or zoom in to see more details about one graph.
The Disk Tab displayed read/write access details broken down according to the processes that invoked them. The process details listed may be somewhat intimidating to a novice. The process window displays all running processes, including the items that parent processes initiated, in a tree format. The details include the usernames the processes belong to, PID number, a short description and overall footprint on system resources.
Although the process explorer provides plenty of details, it uses a clean interface that hides away most of the details until you want to see them. It also takes a short time to learn how to interpret the details.
- Clean user interface
- Provides advanced features
- Provides notifications
- Active forum
- Process window is challenging for the average person to use
- Can tag some useful processes as dangerous
- Lack of help file
Anyone who often uses Windows Task Manager will benefit from Process Hacker. Users with little knowledge can stick to the main tabs to avoid tampering with crucial processes.