Friday, September 19, 2008

WinXP - Process Explorer

Microsoft bought-out the original owners of System Internals, which are a set of very good tools for WinXP.The most outstanding, in my opinion, is Process Explorer (PE) (see sidebar).

The best feature is the [Find] option. When you get those error dialogs that say "whatever.DLL has caused a problem, and...," if you leave the dialog open, you can use the PE [Find] to search for whatever.DLL and tell you which task called the errant DLL. Much better for troubleshooting the error.

If you put the shortcut to PE in your Startup folder, set to run minimized, on boot the icon in the Taskbar Tray will show you CPU activity. This is a nice tool to let you know when your WinXP boot is actually complete (minimum activity). I don't recommend this for high-resource game players or people running compilers.

I recommend the following settings for PE:

  • Options menu

    • Always On Top

    • Hide When Minimized

    • Allow Only One Instance

    • CPU History in Tray Icon

  • View menu

    • Show Processes From ALL Users

    • Show Fractional CPU

    • Show Lower Pane

    • Also, in Select Columns, Process Performance tab, set

    • CPU Usage

    • Threads

    • Handle Count

(updated, v11.33)
(click for larger view)

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