There are times when a process or program does not respond.
The application window will remain on your desktop or residing in memory, but
it just won’t go away. When that happens, what do you do? In Windows, most will
opt for Ctrl-Alt-Delete and then open the Task Manager. In most cases that
works just fine – but there are stubborn cases when Task Manager simply won’t
kill a process. And what do you do about Android or Linux? Nearly every
platform benefits from a solid process killer.
Fortunately there are plenty such applications available,
ready to serve and kill those tasks you don’t want hanging around. I have found
five go-to tools for this job. Read on and find out if any of them meet your
1. All-in-One Toolbox
Toolbox (Android) is one of my favorite Android tools of this nature. It’s
not only fully capable of getting rid of processes residing in memory, it also
does a great job of clearing caches. With a simple one-touch kill process, you
can kill apps in accordance to their CPU, Memory, or Battery usage. This make
for a powerful management tool to keep your Android device working at optimum
performance. Extra features include: Call/SMS cleaner, SDCard Cleaner, Apk
Cleaner, and App Leftover cleaner. The All-in-One Toolbox Dashboard gives you
plenty of at-a-glance information on your Android device and how much RAM, ROM,
and SD memory is in use.
2. Process Explorer
Explorer (Windows) is another fine tool created by Windows Sysinternals.
There are plenty of reasons why Process Explorer improves on the Windows
default – such as portable usage, full listing of processes, charts of usage
(with significantly more information than the default applications), ability to
change affinity and priority. One of my favorite features of Process Explorer
is the ability to track down which file is being locked by a program. Process
Explorer can also help you find out why a certain DLL or DOC file mysteriously
cannot be deleted. Of all the available task manager like tools for the Windows
platform, Process Explorer is, by far, the best in breed.
3. Process Hacker
Hacker (Windows) takes Process Explorer and tosses a handful of even more
advanced features in to create a power-user’s dream machine of a task manager.
With this tool you can customize the tree view to show you what is currently
running. You can also view very detailed statistics with graphs, close network
connections, and view/edit/control services not listed in the standard process
listing. The advanced features include: Viewing GDI handles and heaps,
injecting and unloading DLLs, and detaching from debuggers. If you’re an
administrator who needs as much power at their fingertips as possible, and you
want it in GUI form, you can’t go wrong with Process hacker.
4. Gnome System Monitor
System Monitor (Linux) is the default GNOME tool that serves as a GUI
front-end for a number of tasks. Not only does this tool forcefully or
gracefully kill applications and services, it also allows you to easily change
the priority of an application, check memory maps for a program or service,
monitor resources (CPU, memory and swap, and network), and even get instant
information on the available storage on any mounted device and a tree view on
process dependencies. Unlike having to use the command line tools (such as kill
and killall), the Gnome System Monitor is a point and click solution to ending
processes on a Linux system.
5. Extended Task Manager
Task Manager (Windows) takes the built-in Task Manager and adds a few,
much-needed, features. You’ll find a new Disk I/O chart which allows you to
monitor which applications currently utilize most of your disk as well as more
information about disk activity and network port usage. For those that find
locked files a nuisance, Extended Task Manager allows you to locate a Windows
process that has a specific file locked. With this information you can then
close that process to remove the lock file (which has the added effect of
allowing you to more easily stop processes/applications held hostage by lock
files). The Extended Task Manager Summary tab gives you a quick view of the
overall state of your Windows system.
You might find that, when running Extended Task Manager on
Windows 7 you get ETML -9 errors. If that happens, run the application in
Compatibility mode for Windows XP and all will be fine.
There is no reason why you need to be put into a
stranglehold by your system processes and applications. With the help of one of
these applications, you can take control of your system and make sure it is not
only running reliably, but running with optimal performance. Grab one of these
tools and see if they don’t give you the power to contain runaway and stubborn