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Keeping tabs on my machine is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. I like watching the performance of my applications, monitoring network connections, and all of that stuff most people would never think twice about. One of the most popular utilities for doing this is the Process Explorer that is put out by Microsoft, but there’s another free app that I really love called System Explorer.

What makes this program so great? In some ways I view it as an all-in-one suite for monitoring and managing the apps on your PC. You can view all of the common stats like memory/CPU usage, but you can also do things like view network connection, manage startup items, and add/remove apps. My favorite thing, however, is the ability to right-click on any process and upload that file to virustotal.com for analysis. Once it’s uploaded you’ll instantly see the results in your browser.

After you start using System Explorer for a little bit you’ll start to notice some of the niceties and attention to detail. One example is in the screenshot above… look at the CPU usage of the “firefox.exe” process. At the time I took the screenshot the CPU was at 0%, but the green bars behind it represent a mini graph of CPU usage for that particular app. If you scroll through the list of processes you can quickly see CPU-heavy processes simply by looking for those bright green lines.

Here’s a rundown on some of the things System Explorer is capable of:

  • Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.
  • Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal or Jotti service.
  • Easy search details about file/process via online databases.
  • Launcher (“New Task…” dialog) with integrated AutoSearch and AutoCompletion.
  • Action History for monitoring processes activities.
  • Performance graphs for monitoring usage of system resources in time.
  • System Snapshots for easy finding of system changes.
  • System Report builds rich text report containing major informations about your System.
  • Multilanguage and Plugins Support.
  • Version 2.0 brings brand new user interface and Windows 7 support.
  • Security feature with online File Reviews.

And here are a bunch of screenshots:

(Click thumbnail to enlarge)
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If you like to keep an eye on your system I highly recommend taking a look at this free app. It’s available for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and is even bundled in a portable format for those who don’t want to install it.

System Explorer Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)