A simple Task Manager – in an Excel spreadsheet?

April 12, 2012 – 06:19 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

If you believe your PC has been infected by malware then you’ll probably try to launch Task Manager in an effort to find out more. But of course malware authors are well aware of this, and in some cases they’ll try to protect themselves by disabling Task Manager and similar tools.

As long as you can launch Excel 2010, though, you do have another option in Didier Steven’s TaskManager.xls. It’s a basic Task Manager alternative in a spreadsheet which not only lists the processes running on your PC, but also enables you to close or suspend any that you don’t need.

Just open the spreadsheet and it’ll display a list of running processes along with their details (name, file name, process ID, time of launch, user account, memory use and – on 64-bit systems – whether it’s 32 or 64-bit). This doesn’t update dynamically, but clicking “List Processes” when required will refresh the display.

View and control your running processes in just a few clicks

If you’re sure you’ve identified a malicious process then you can flag it for termination or suspension by entering a t or s in the Command column at its left. If there are several dubious processes then just enter more commands, clicking “Execute Commands” when you’re happy to close or suspend them all at once. (And that’s actually better than Task Manager, which can only close one process at a time.) Use the R command later to resume a process if you’re sure it’s safe.

TaskManager.xls is fairly basic, then. And if you’re concerned about Task Manager being disabled then you’ll probably be better off downloading several alternatives, “just in case” (malware is most unlikely to be able to block them all). It’s an interesting idea, though, and if for some reason you don’t have anything else available then the program does provide everything you need to view and disable problem processes.

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