When I’m working on a Windows machine I like to keep Task Manager running minimised in my task bar so I’ve got immediate visual feedback on how hard my system’s working. That way, when I think my system’s not running as fast as it should be I can immediately see if the system’s maxed out at 100% CPU usage.
When this happens, which is a fairly common occurence, Task Manager’s Processes tab will normally point a finger at the culprit process, which is all well and good if I see a process like firefox.exe soaking up all the resources it can but if the process name isn’t as intuitive how can you tell if this process needs to be killed or restarted?
Whilst a Google search is always worthwhile, a combination of What Process? and Greatis’ Startup Programs Database have proved indispensible in the past. Whilst What Process? can be as apocryphal as the Wikipedia the combination of the two sites have yet to fail me.
As a nice side effect, checking all of your running processes against the Startup Programs Database can dramatically increase the startup speed of your Windows machine. For example, if you’ve got a version of Java installed, then you’ve probably got a copy of jusched.exe running to check for updates; if you’d prefer to check manually then this process can be prevented from starting at boot time without any problem.