Process management utility that picks up where Task Manager leaves off

Process Explorer

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Process Explorer

  -  3.4 MB  -  Freeware
  • Latest Version

    Process Explorer 17.05 LATEST

  • Review by

    Michael Reynolds

  • Operating System

    Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 / Windows 11

  • User Rating

    Click to vote
  • Author / Product

    Microsoft SysInternals / External Link

  • Filename

Have you ever been curious about which program has a specific file or directory open? Now you can easily find out with Process Explorer. This tool provides you with information about the handles and DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries) that processes have opened or loaded.

User Interface

The Process Explorer interface consists of two sub-windows. The top window always displays a list of currently active processes, including the names of their associated accounts. The information shown in the bottom window depends on the mode that the app is in. In handle mode, you can view the handles opened by the selected process in the top window. In DLL mode, you can see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. It also offers a powerful search feature, enabling you to quickly identify processes with specific handles opened or DLLs loaded.

Microsoft Process Explorer's unique capabilities make it invaluable for troubleshooting DLL version issues or handle leaks. It provides valuable insights into the inner workings of Windows and applications.

MS Process Explorer is a free advanced utility developed by Microsoft Sysinternals, providing a comprehensive view of the processes, threads, and DLLs running on your Windows system. It goes beyond the standard Task Manager to offer in-depth information about each process, including details on associated services, performance metrics, and even the ability to control running processes. Process Explorer is a must-have tool for system administrators, power users, and troubleshooting enthusiasts.


Simply run the software (procexp.exe).

Key Features

Process and System Information
The program displays a tree-like structure of all active processes, allowing you to explore process dependencies and see how they interact with each other.

Detailed Process Information
You can access extensive information about each process, including its executable path, command-line parameters, memory usage, open files, and loaded DLLs.

Real-Time CPU and GPU Monitoring
The software provides real-time monitoring of CPU and GPU activity, allowing you to identify resource-intensive processes and diagnose performance bottlenecks.

Powerful Search and Filtering
It enables you to search for specific processes, modules, handles, or DLLs, making it easier to locate and analyze specific components.

Process and Thread Highlighting
It highlights processes and threads related to specific windows or services, making it easier to trace back their origins.

Handles and DLLs
You can explore open handles and loaded DLLs, helping you understand the resources being used by running processes.

System Tray Integration
It can replace the standard Windows Task Manager and integrate with the system tray for quick access.

How to Use
  • Download and install the app from the official Microsoft Sysinternals website or FileHorse.
  • Launch the application. By default, it shows a comprehensive list of running processes.
  • Explore the different columns and tabs to gather information about individual processes, including CPU and memory usage.
  • Right-click on a process to access a context menu offering various options like killing the process, searching online for more information, or analyzing its properties.
  • Utilize the search and filtering options to find specific processes, handles, or DLLs.
  • Customize the application's settings according to your preferences, such as adjusting the refresh rate or replacing the Task Manager.

Is Microsoft Process Explorer compatible with all Windows versions?
Yes, Microsoft Process Explorer is compatible with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Can I use Process Explorer to terminate processes?
Yes, it allows you to terminate processes, but exercise caution as terminating critical system processes can lead to instability or crashes.

How does Process Explorer differ from the default Task Manager?
It offers more detailed information about processes, handles, and DLLs. It also provides real-time CPU and GPU monitoring, advanced search and filtering options, and the ability to control processes.

Can I save the process information for future analysis?
Yes, the program allows you to save the process information as a snapshot or in a CSV file for further analysis.

Is Microsoft Process Explorer FREE to use?
Yes, the app is completely free to download and use for personal and commercial purposes.


There are several alternatives to BitDefender Free Edition available in the market, including Process Monitoror Process Lasso.

System Requirements
  • Operating System: Windows XP or later (compatible with Windows 11)
  • CPU: 1 GHz or higher
  • RAM: 1 GB or more
  • Disk Space: 10 MB (When a .zip file is unpacked)
  • Offers detailed process and system information
  • Real-time CPU and GPU monitoring
  • Powerful search and filtering options
  • Integration with the system tray for quick access
  • Lightweight and free to use
  • May overwhelm casual users with its advanced features
  • Requires some learning to fully utilize its capabilities

Microsoft Process Explorer is an invaluable software tool for gaining insights into the inner workings of your Windows system. With its wealth of information, real-time monitoring, and advanced search capabilities, the app  surpasses the default Task Manager and empowers users to effectively analyze processes, troubleshoot performance issues, and maintain system stability.

Whether you're a system administrator, power user, or simply curious about your computer's processes, Process Explorer is a must-have utility in your software arsenal. Download it today and uncover the depths of your system like never before!

  • Process Explorer 17.05 Screenshots

    The images below have been resized. Click on them to view the screenshots in full size.

What's new in this version:

Process Explorer 17.05
- This update to Process Explorer, an advanced process, DLL, and handle viewing utility, fixes a crash generated by the process list, fixes a bug with thread affinity decoding on systems with multiple processor groups (more than 64 processors / cores), and makes Escape key handling more consistent.

Process Explorer 17.04
- This update to Process Explorer fixes a regression highlighting immersive processes and fixes a security bug.

Process Explorer 17.03
- This update to Process Explorer, an advanced process, DLL, and handle viewing utility, adds improved packaged app support, fixes a dark mode bug, and fixes a security bug.

Process Explorer 17.02
- This update to Process Explorer fixes two bugs that can lead to crashes and another that leads to an unexpected dialog in an error case.

Process Explorer 17.01
- This update to Process Explorer fixes a crash when right-clicking an empty area of the lower pane threads tab and improves menu rendering.

Process Explorer 17.00
- This update to Process Explorer, an advanced process, DLL and handle viewing utility, adds dark theme support, multipane view in the main window with a new threads pane, startup performance optimization and more.

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