Ctrl+Alt+Del to see what’s running on your PC, to close crashed programs and
processes, and to check performance.
probably avoid a few processes whose names mean nothing to you, but they’re
essential to Windows. svchost.exe sure likes to appear all the time and multiple
times at that. What’s taskmgr.exe? Oh yeah, it’s the window you’re looking at
right now. ctfmon? Is he related to Pokemon? navapsvc.exe? Navy? Napa Valley?
Navel? NOTA (none of the above)?
not a comprehensive list. But it has the standard processes as well as process
names from popular applications. If you want to know about a process, the best
place to go is…
ProcessLibrary.com. Just like adware
and spyware, there are bad processes that come to life thanks to the bad guys
like Trojans and viruses. The site has a list of the top five security threats,
so watch out for those processes!
Acrobat Assistant that is used when printing documents to a
PDF. The process should not be removed while converting documents to PDF.
Active Disk Service is a component of the Iomega zip drive.
Also for the Iomega zip drive.
Associated with Symantec’s Internet Security Suite. Keep it
and protect your PC.
Also associated with Symantec’s Internet Security Suite. Keep
it and protect your PC.
System process that is the main executable for the Microsoft
Client / Server Runtim Server Subsystem. It should not be shut down.
Non-essential system process. If you’re using only English as
the language, then it is not needed. However, it’s recommended to leave it
This must always be running in the background. It’s a user
interface process that runs the windows graphical shell for the desktop, task
bar, and Start menu.
Internet Explorer browser..
Local Security Authority Service is a Windows
security-related system process for handling local security and login policies.
Navapsvc.exe, nvsrvc32.exe, and navapw32.exe
These are Symantec’s North AnvtiVirus processes. They or
whatever virus program you use should run all the time.
RealNetworks Scheduler is not an essential process. It checks
for updates for RealNetworks products. It can be safely disabled.
A system process that executes DLLs and loads their
Nortons AntiVirus process. Keep it.
An essential process that manages the starting and stopping
of services including the those in boot up and shut down. Do not terminate it.
Session Manager SubSystem is a system process that is a
central part of the Windows operating system. If you try to kill it, it will be
difficult… hence, the importance of leaving it be.
Microsoft printer spooler service handles local printer
processes. It’s a system file.
svchost.exe x 6
You may have more than six appearances of this process or
less. It’s there multiple times to handle processes executed from DLLs. Leave it
This is a file that stores information related to local
hardware settings in the registry under ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’. Kill it and kiss
your PC’s stability bye bye.
Calculates the amount of CPU currently in use by applications.
This won’t go away no matter how hard you try. Don’t try it, OK?
Appears when you press Ctrl+Alt+Del.
Windows Driver Foundation Manager is part of Windows media
player 10 and newer. Better not to stop the process.
Handles the login and logout processes. It’s essential.
The great Carnac says, “You’re running Microsoft Word.”
panic if you see something you have on the “bad guy” list.
svchost.exe is important, but some are good guys and some are bad guys. Do your
research before deleting anything. For instance, I have admin.exe, which has
been reported as a bad guy. However, it is the admin process for one of my
programs. When I closed the program, admin.exe also went away.
Check out a
good real-time spyware tool, such as
IT, to keep your machine thoroughly protected.
* * *
Evans is the Content Maven behind
eNewsletter Journal, and
The Remediator Security Digest. She
is also a
PC Today columnist and a
tour guide at InformIT. Meryl has
written for The Dallas Morning News, AbsoluteWrite, O'Reilly, New Riders, and
others. She is geared to tackle your
editing, writing, content, and process needs.
The native Texan resides in Plano, Texas, a heartbeat north of Dallas, and
doesn't wear a 10-gallon hat or cowboy boots.