I am looking for a (preferably free) task manager application that is more robust than the default Task Manager that ships with Windows 7.

Functionality I am looking for:

  • Alter Security Levels
  • Suspend processes (and resume)
  • Ability to identify unknown tasks ("what is boblovesdata.exe?!?!?")
  • Identify files being accessed by certain processes (you can't delete that it is in use!!!)
  • Speeds for Read/Write

2 Answers 2


Process Explorer, part of the Sysinternals suite, does everything you want.

  • Alter priority levels simply by right-clicking on the process and selecting a priority level.
  • Suspend/resume processes by right-clicking, and selecting suspend/resume.
  • See what the process does/is by looking at the columns in the program next to the processes. If that doesn't work, right-click and select Search Online, which will search for the program in Google.
  • Identify what program is using a specific file by hitting Ctrl + F, to bring up this box:

    Search window in Process Explorer
    Then simply type in what file you want to see what process is using, and after it searches, you'll see something like this, with the process name, PID, name, and other data:

    enter image description here

  • See the read/write information, either by right-clicking the process and selecting properties, or adding an "IO" category to the view. To my knowledge you can't see exact read/write speeds.

It's a little old, but it still runs well and has a good number of features. Here's what it looks like in normal use:

enter image description here

  • Process Hacker is essentially the next version of this tool.
    – Navin
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 4:40
  • Ill take a look at it, waiting to see what other options are out there as well.
    – James
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:15
  • IIRC, Process Explorer can also be set up to replace the default task manager, eg. when using Ctrl+Shift+Esc key combination.
    – Brian S
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 16:14
  • @BrianS Yeah, there's an option for that in one of the menus.
    – hichris123
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:01

I also like Process Hacker on Sourceforge which is an open source and very advanced task manager. Pretty much the open source implementation of SysInternals Process Explorer. The interface is a little different, but pretty much the same idea as ProcExp.

I have even used it for recovery on a munged Windows 7/32 Ultimate system so broken SysInternals Process Explorer would not run (along with lots of other things).

  • 3
    Welcome to Software Recommendations! This post does not contain enough information to be considered a high quality answer. Please read our discussion on what makes an answer high quality to see if you can incorporate some of these improvements into your answer - most specifically go over the requirements identified in the question and say does it meet or not etc. (For bonus points do it in the same format as the OP and for extra bonus points include workarounds or suggestions for things that it doesn't do) Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 2:56

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