Imagine working on your system and it starts to lag, most of the time the first thing to do is to restart your machine. What if whatever you are doing is of essence and restarting the machine is not the most friendliest option to fix the lag. You open the Task Manager, close all the running background applications that are of no use but still there is no definitive change with respect to the lag.
You will then need to check and see how the system resources more so, RAM is being used via system monitoring tools. A good example is the Task Manager but it does not go in depth like the other tools.
There are different monitoring tools that you may have come across like NinjaOne, Atera, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor and Sematext. Most of this tools are paid for and may inconvenience a lot of people. Other tools like Process Hacker, Zabbix are free and available and perform the same way the others do. We will focus on Process Hacker in this guide.
Process Hacker is a free tool that allows you to monitor your system resources and also find malware and debug software.
It has a few features that make it accessible:
- Can represent data in Graphs to show the statistics of the active processes.
- Show real time disk usage and access information.
- Show rea-time network usage information.
- Show real-time GPU usage information.
In this guide, I will show you how to:
- Install Process hacker,
- View the settings and plugins,
- Use process hacker examples
Installing Process Hacker on Windows
Find Process Hacker download from sourceforge.io.
Click on Download Process Hacker and it opens a new page to select the one which fits your system. I chose the
.exe setup file for easy installation.
The download starts immediately. It is a small file < 3 Mb. Find the file from your downloads folder and click on it to start the installation. The first part is to accept the License agreement.
The next option will be to select the destination folder of the install. I chose to go with the default. Then next Option is to select the components, I would recommend full installation which installs the plugins.
Next Option is to select the folder to store the Program shortcuts. The default is the Start Menu Folder Which I left it as it is. You can change if you want.
Next option would be to select additional tasks like opting to start process hacker on startup or make it the default monitoring tool. You can choose wit regards to your preferences.
The next option is to click on Install which installs very fast and the installation is successful. You can launch the tool the setup install exit
Monitor System Resources on Windows using Process Hacker
Once you exit, Process Hacker opens as follows. It has different tabs to show information on the processes. By default it opens on the Processes Tab with the running processes.
To view the services that are active, Click on Services Tab.
To view the status of different applications using the Network, Click on Network tab.
To view the disk usage requires administrative privileges, and you might get a caution like the one below when you click the Disk Tab.
Just click on
Restart and put the password of an Admin if it asks you for one. Note that this would happen in a PC that is being used by more than one person or it is in a domain. A PC with a one user who happens to be the admin would not ask for password and rather just an Impromptu dialog to allow the restart.
To see the information in a graphical view, Click on System Information and a new tab opens as folllows.
To view details for a particular resource, Click on the graph for that specific section. It opens a graph in a more detailed view, Lets say we choose the CPU section.
You may have noticed that the Process Hacker highlights different processes in different colors. You can find the meaning of each color under Option Tab, Then click on Highlighting Tab. And also on that same tab you have an option of changing the color and the duration for highlighting.
With that in mind, You can use the Process Hacker to kill or edit a process on how it uses the system resources. No need to restart your machine while working on a project due to system lag.
Mind you, data shown by the Process Hacker is in real-time. It is whatever is being used by the background processes and applications at that time. So, killing a process releases the system resources at that same time and allocates the newly released resources to the application or process that requires it at that time.