Task Manager Deluxe is a powerful process monitor

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MiTeC has released an updated edition of its freeware Task Manager DeLuxe with new disk and I/O charts, extra CPU stats and a memory map.

Sounds good, but does the program really have the power to tear us away from Process Explorer and Process Hacker? We grabbed a copy to find out.

The program opens with a familiar display of running processes: name, PID, session, type, CPU usage, creation time, description and more.

There are separate tabs for Windows services, sessions, Windows startup programs, network activity, disk I/O, performance, and basic system information details.

It’s easy to drill down and find out more. Double-clicking a process, for instance, displays its threads, security tokens, loaded modules, environment variables, process handles, memory usage and IO stats.

You generally can’t take this as far as Process Explorer or Process Hacker. You’re able to view a list of threads, but not individual thread stacks. There are stats on process memory use, but you can’t view particular blocks or the strings they contain. You can’t search for open handles, or manually close a handle if you find it some other way.

It’s a similar story with the Network tab. You’re able to view open connections and view details about their owning process, but there’s no way to close a connection manually.

Despite this, Task Manager DeLuxe does have some unusual tools of its own.

A Desktop Explorer displays details on processes as your mouse cursor passes over them: window classes, handles, dimensions, colors, a magnifier view and more.

A separate "Windows" tool displays a detailed view of any process, its child windows and controls: dimensions, styles, classes and more.

A Session viewer is handy for watching network or terminal server users connect and disconnect to their desktops.

The new performance graphs look good, although some are more useful than others. The Disk chart is simple -- just one, you can’t choose a drive -- but the CPU chart gives us overall and per-core usage, separate speed charts and more.

The program also has many neat but smaller touches which you notice over time, from the system up-time and power source displays (AC or battery), to the way dialogs conveniently snap to the side of the screen.

Could Task Manager DeLuxe replace Process Monitor or Process Hacker? Not if you need real low-level access, like finding out which process is using a file, understanding more about what a thread might be doing, or checking the strings within a memory block.

But for everyone else, it’s a different story. Task Manager DeLuxe is a very capable process monitor with a wide range of features, great for finding out more about what’s happening on your system, portable and entirely free. Check it out.

Task Manager DeLuxe is available for Windows XP and later.

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