| By Ryan Russell |
In my Dec. 6 column, I introduced Microsoft’s free Process Explorer and some of its basic functions that enable you to understand what’s running on your PC.
Today, I’ll walk you through using PE to accomplish some specific tasks, so fire up your copy and follow along.
How to find resource hogs on your PC
If you want to make frequent use of PE, one of the first things you’ll want to do is customize the set of columns that it shows. This will give you all the information you want at a glance. In the following example, we’re going to check for processes that are using too many resources.
In PE, click on the View menu, and select Select columns. This will give you a Select Columns window. Click on the Process Performance tab. Make sure Threads and Handle Count are checked. Go to the Process Memory tab, and make sure Virtual Size, Working Set Size, Peak Working Set Size, GDI Objects, and USER Objects are checked.
This will cause columns for each of these items to appear in the main PE window. You can sort by any one of these columns by clicking on the column name for that column.
In my experience (heavily influenced by my working in a software quality-assurance function for several years), there are three main groups of resources a Windows process can go overboard with: (1) CPU, (2) memory, and (3) handles and objects.