If you have ever opened the Windows Task Manager, then you know how many processes are running on your computer at any one time. However, sorting through all of these processes can be a difficult job: which ones are safe to close? And which ones are integral to the functioning of your PC? Today, we’re going to answer that question.
The first thing to know about the Task Manager is that there are several different types of processes at work. These are separated into several categories based on where they are running on your PC:
- User Name
- Local Service
- Network Service
Which processes should I close on my PC?
Each process is separated into one of these categories. In general, processes under the ‘System’, ‘Network Service’, or ‘Local Service’ tags should not be cancelled, or should only be cancelled in rare cases when you think you have a virus. These tasks are essential for the normal operation of your PC and cancelling any one of them could expose your system to various problems, or could even impact your system’s security.
However, processes that are listed under your account’s username (most likely your own name) can usually be cancelled without adversely affecting your system. These processes start when you sign into any of the accounts on your PC (or simply boot up your PC if you only have one account), and could include processes like antivirus programs, internet browsers, Microsoft Office applications, and whatever else you use your PC for on a daily basis.
Using the Task Manager as an antivirus tool to fix your PC
However, there could also be viruses in that list. Since the ‘processes’ list shows everything that is currently running on your PC, it can be used to troubleshoot virus problems. By scanning your processes list for any task that looks suspicious, and then searching Google for the name of that suspicious task, you can prevent a virus from taking over your PC.
If the search results on Google suggest that the process is a virus, click ‘End Process’ immediately. This will free up system resources and prepare you for the next step, which is performing a scan with a good antivirus program. This should permanently delete the problem from your system.
Ultimately, the Windows Task Manager is a simple but powerful tool. When used correctly, it can fix your PC in several different ways and significantly enhance your system’s security. To access your Task Manager, simply press Ctrl+Alt+Delete or right click on any part of your PC’s taskbar and select ‘Task Manager’.