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Full user review
"Overpriced, overhyped and underpowered"
It's easier to for a newbie to use than Process Explorer by Sysinternals
It's unstable-- it crashed multiple times. It isn't worth the money they want for it.
At any given point, there are between 30-120 different processes running on your computer. Some of them are system processes generated by Windows, but many are the applications you install.The developer's response points to a universal problem: the software works well when they test it, but some users simply can't get it to run consistently.
To keep this unruly crowd in check-- to keep them from hogging your memory of the CPU time-- Windows has a process manager which assigns each one a priority. To do that, it tries to identify what application it is, what its purpose is and what it's trying to do. A simple example: usually the antivirus program gets priority over everything else, because the the process manager assumes it is trying to protect you, and that's more important.
The process manager that comes with Windows (Task Manager) isn't very smart (it basically tries to please everyone by favoring no one) and it's not easy to configure. A number of people have written programs that do a better job.
The one I have always used is PROCESS EXPLORER, by a company named Sysinternals. Their products were so good-- so powerful and efficient-- that Microsoft bought the company. The two programmers now work for Microsoft and continue to release this and other products.
The catch with PROCESS EXPLORER is that it's not easy for new users to understand and it won't automatically assign priorities. It's not tough to do (right click on a process and use SET PRIORITY), but you have to know which program is your antivirus, which is your media player and so forth. Grandma can't do that; my Uncle Ray causes more problems than he solves. One time he killed all the instances of SVCHOST.EXE, (the program that runs all the Windows Services) thinking it was a virus and then wondered why his computer wouldn't work.
I wish I could report that PROCESS LASSO is the solution I was hoping for. But it isn't.
It's a good idea... When you install it. PROCESS LASSO loads itself into memory, checks everything in memory. Using a proprietary database of (in theory) every different application out there, it assigns priorities to everything you have installed.
These priorities are saved, so they don't need to be reset every time you start an application. The assessments are good... it knows that your role-playing game or media player should get a higher priority than the Java Updater, so your content doesn't slow down to a crawl.
The catch? It crashed six times in 15 days, and I had to restart my system. It choked about 50% of the time I tried to install new programs (which I do a lot because I provide services for business and are always looking for new tools they can use).
It didn't like Vista and it didn't seem happy on a system that had a virtual machine. There were far too many times that PROCESS LASSO caused slowdowns because it was having trouble directing traffic. There might have been other issues, but at that point, I'd seen enough.
I can believe the reviews saying this is a great product-- it did a good job when it was up and running. But I also can't help thinking that many of them are people who've never has something running instead of TASK MANAGER, and they'd be equally thrilled with any other product that did the same thing.
All I know is that I can't, in good conscience, recommend a product that doesn't work when I put stress on it. I'm not going to use anything that SLOWS DOWN my system. You might have better luck with it than I did, if you only do a few things and don't have anything "weird" in your setup.
But I can't say that it's a good idea to install a product and pay for it, if it blows up even occasionally. There are other products that work line bricks-- NOTHING goes wrong-- and I'd suggest using one of those instead.
Updated on Mar 27, 2012
I should note that I didn't try it on Windows 7, because my target users are still on Vista and XP. And I don't doubt that it works fine for a lot of folks. I'm sure I have some ill-behaved stuff running that might blow it up.
But that's why writing stuff that loads on startup and lives in the system tray is so tough. Very few people run vanilla setups, but they all expect it to work, regardless.
As his response shows, the developer is a nice guy-- and he pumps out new versions about every other week. I'll try a later version and see what happens.