Determine processes running on a remote server with PsList

The Sysinternals PsList tool can save you a trip to a server. Find out how to run the tool against a remote computer.

If you want to check what processes are running on a remote server, there are many ways to get this information. Possible ways include connecting to the server with Remote Desktop to run Task Manager and using the Reliability and Performance Monitor (Perfmon). Another option is to use the Sysinternals PsList tool, which can get you this information remotely and quickly.

PsList is part of the PsTools Suite. I still challenge myself to fully migrate to a PowerShell environment, but I still use tools that are command line (DOS) driven in lieu of PowerShell scripts due to number of lines and typing required. However, PsList can be run from a PowerShell console if you have made the transition.

PsList is a standalone executable and can be run against a remote computer. To run against a remote computer, users with Administrator-level permission can determine the list of processes running on a Windows Server. In this example, using PsList with the following command will return the processes running and update continuously every two seconds against the server named BEATBOX:

pslist \\BEATBOX -s
The continuous refresh makes the PsList display function like an instance of TaskManager but running remotely from another system. This command is shown running in Figure A. Figure A

PsList can also show the process tree, which is a nice visual aid to distinguish system processes that are grouped together from other activity on the server.

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About Rick Vanover

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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