Microsoft

Kill and trap rogue processes in Windows with Daphne

It can be very frustrating when a program crashes or refuses to close. A free utility called Daphne can relieve some of that frustration with improved process management in Windows.

Daphne is a tiny, free application that resides in your system notification tray and allows you to quickly and easily manage your Windows 7 processes. And Daphne has a few other features that will appeal to administrators and hard-core end users alike.

One of the nicest tricks Daphne has up her sleeve is the ability to trap applications. With this feature you can make sure you keep certain applications from running by killing them the instant they start up. Let's take a look at how to kill and how to trap a process with Daphne.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

Killing a process

There is always a number of ways to kill a process. I will assume you have already installed Daphne and have it running in your notification tray. Once that is the case, you can kill an application in the following ways:

1. Use drag and drop

If you open the Daphne main window (Figure A), you should be able to easily figure out at least one way to kill an application. One way you might not easily spot is using the drag-and-drop target.

Figure A

The main Daphne window allows you to kill an application by right-clicking the apps listing and selecting whether you want to kill the app politely, just kill it, or kill it at a specified time.

With the main window open, you will see the cross hairs near the middle of the window at the bottom. Next to that is a drop-down list from which you can choose the actions that will be associated with the kill "target." Say you want to use the cross hairs to kill an application. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select Kill from the drop-down list.
  2. Drag and drop the cross hairs to the open application you want to kill.

That's it. But remember, you can do more than just kill an application with this method. You can also hide applications, set/unset the application on top, set the application's alpha (transparency) level, and enable/disable an application.

2. Use the right-click menu

If you find an application listed in the main Daphne window that you want to kill, all you have to do is right-click the application and select the action you want to enact on the window. If you're unsure what the actions are, here's a description:

  • Kill -- This will actually kill the application as if you were killing the application from the Task manager.
  • Kill politely -- This will kill the application as if you were closing it from the application's File | Close or File | Quit menu.
  • Kill at... -- This allows you to schedule a program's kill time.
  • Kill politely at... -- This allows you to schedule a program's polite killing time.

There are also a number of other entries (such as creating a trap, setting priority, setting focus, etc.) that do not directly relate to killing the application but are still quite handy to have around.

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3. Create a trap

This is one of the handiest features of Daphne. We've all seen this before -- an application that we don't want (but can't uninstall) that starts up on its own. By creating a trap, you can set up Daphne to immediately kill an application as soon as it starts. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. If the application is already running, locate it in the Daphne main window.
  2. Right-click the target application.
  3. Select Create Trap from the menu.
  4. From the new window (Figure B), select the action you want to enable on the application from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click OK.

Figure B

The name of the process will already be filled in (since you are creating this trap from the process listing).

Now, when that process attempts to run, Daphne will kill it.

Final thoughts

As you play around with Daphne, you will find that it can do so much more. But as far as eliminating those rogue applications, the methods prescribed above should take care of your process killing needs. But don't stop at killing -- make sure you examine the other features Daphne has to offer. Although they aren't as "must-have" as Daphne's process killing, they are certainly "must-see."

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

10 comments
chris_black
chris_black

Installed Daphne, had a look around, then uninstalled it. Later, a box appeared on my desktop urging me to "turn off my computer to protect the environment", complete with spelling mistakes. Even after uninstalling Daphne kept its process running. Pretty sketchy.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I can't see why you'd use this app for reason #3. Try removing it from the registry. There are plenty of utilities that can help you [as someone staked PSKill - except it's command line only. PS - What's with the crappy cropping in Figure B?

pgit
pgit

Say you want to untrap a process? (application) If it won't start, it won't end up with an entry in the list, it would seem. Ergo there's nothing to right click upon to de-select "trap." Am I missing something? For instance is there a list of trapped apps that you can use to untrap??

grahamrice
grahamrice

There is a link provided in the article, but it is not obvious. Just click on the word Daphne at the start of the second paragraph - "Daphne is a tiny", this will take you to the developers site. At this site you will also discover that it is not restricted to Windows 7, as implied by the article. It is also suitable for Windows XP, Server 2003 and Vista. Plus there is a 64-bit version.

RS_1
RS_1

Yes, I can will search for it, but I think that a download link or page link should have been a given for a review about it.

robo_dev
robo_dev

Scooby Doo reference? Greek Mythology? Ex-Girlfriend?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What utilities do you use to manage system process and running applications?

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

try removing these, msmsgs.exe > windows messenger msimn.exe > outlook express iexplore.exe > internet exploder sure, MS removed, outlook express and windows messenger from win7 but it's still a constant battle with IE and the windows live version for messenger and mail isn't of any use either

Realvdude
Realvdude

Thanks for mentioning the other Windows OS version support. I too went to the website to see if it worked with XP.