When Windows hangs or crashes, it's usually due to a single process or program that isn't running properly. Sometimes you have to open the System Configuration or Services tool to terminate a running process. Or you can open Process Hacker and view it all at once. This free, open-source process viewer displays all your running processes and services, including network and disk processes, in color-coded tree views. Process Hacker's powerful process termination capabilities bypass most security software and rootkits, ending the entire affected process. Skilled users can take advantage of Process Hacker's string scanning capabilities and other filtering methods to view what is causing a thread to hang and debug malware infections. But that's just a small sample of what Process Hacker can do: It not only views threads but also handles, DLLs, tokens, modules, memory lists, DEP status, and more. It can sandbox processes, too.
Process Hacker's user interface is simple yet displays a lot of useful information a well-configured space. The main window has tabs to display Processes, Services, Network, and Disk data. The Processes window displays active processes in a modified tree view, color-coded for easy identification. There's no color key on the interface, but we could customize the highlights (and just about everything else about Process Hacker) under the program's Options. The Services tab is similar to SysConfig's tool, but easier to use. Like the Services list, the Network display is plain until activity is detected, and then Process Hacker displays it with color coding. But Process Hacker does much more than display and terminate processes and services. For instance, the Tools menu includes utilities to Create Services, manage Pagefiles, and Verify Signatures, among other utilities.
Since Process Hacker is an open-source project, you'll find a lot of resources at its Web site, including FAQs, forums, and even the source code. Clearly, it's much more than a mere process viewer, and inexperienced users can get into trouble if they're not careful. This powerful utility can force termination of running processes, so be careful what you tell it to do. In experienced hands, Process Hacker is a worthy toolkit.