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I know many of you are diehard fans of Process Explorer, and I am as well. However, I always try to point out alternatives when they are available, and Process Hacker is exactly that. It’s an open source project that consists of over 250,000 lines of code, and the end result is an advanced view of what’s running on your system.

One of the things I like the most about this portable app is the fact that in the Tools menu you’ll find an option to pull up a list of processes that are hidden when viewed through the normal Task Manager. Viruses and rootkits often take advantage of this to keep themselves out of your sight, and therefore more difficult to kill. Process Hacker brings them to the forefront.

Here’s a list of some other features:

  • A simple, customizable tree view with highlighting showing you the processes running on your computer.
  • Detailed performance graphs.
  • A complete list of services and full control over them (start, stop, pause, resume and delete).
  • A list of network connections.
  • Comprehensive information for all processes: full process performance history, thread listing and stacks with dbghelp symbols, token information, module and mapped file information, virtual memory map, environment variables, handles, …
  • Full control over all processes, even processes protected by rootkits or security software. Its kernel-mode driver has unique abilities which allows it to terminate, suspend and resume all processes and threads, including software like IceSword, avast! anti-virus, AVG Antivirus, COMODO Internet Security, etc. (just to name a few).
  • Find hidden processes and terminate them. Process Hacker detects processes hidden by simple rootkits such as Hacker Defender and FU.
  • Easy DLL injection and unloading – simply right-click a process and select “Inject DLL” to inject and right-click a module and select “Unload” to unload!

This is a pretty lightweight app as well. It will eat up around 2.5MB of storage on your drive, and uses a mere 5MB of memory while running. That makes it a great little tool to carry around with you on your USB drive.

Process Hacker Homepage (Windows only; Portable Freeware)