The TaskList Gadget makes it easier to troubleshoot running processes

The TaskList utility provides details on the services and DLL modules related to running processes. This free Vista/Windows 7 gadget does the same job -- but without the command-line headaches.

When you're troubleshooting problems in Windows, one of the tools you're likely to use is the Task Manager. It's designed to provide you with detailed information about the programs and processes that are running on a system. However, Task Manager doesn't really give you the full picture when it comes to the running processes. For instance, what if you suspect that a DLL is at the root of a problem and want to find out what DLL modules a particular process is using?

To get the information you need, you can shell out to a Command Prompt window and use the TaskList command-line utility, along with a couple of special parameters. But working from a Command Prompt can get fairly tedious. So I created the TaskList Gadget, which automates the TaskList command.

Using the TaskList Gadget

The TaskList Gadget runs from the Windows Sidebar in Vista and the Desktop in Windows 7. It presents each of the TaskList tool's options on a flyout menu, as shown in Figure A. Just select the options you want to use and click the OK button. The TaskList Gadget will open a Command Prompt window and run the TaskList command, along with the selected options. If you need more information about an option, you can hover your mouse pointer over it to display a tooltip. You can also select the TaskList /? check box.

Figure A

The TaskList Gadget displays each of the TaskList command-line tool's options on a flyout menu.

When the TaskList Gadget sends the selected command to the Command Prompt window, the command line won't appear in the window. If you want to see the command line, be sure to select the Show Command Line check box before you click OK.


Once you download the, you'll find that it contains two files:

  • TaskList Gadget Readme.doc

Simply extract both files to a folder of your choice and rename the file to TaskList.gadget. Make sure that you have Windows Explorer configured to display file extensions. (On the View tab of the Folder Options dialog box, deselect the Hide Extensions for Known File Types check box.) Otherwise, the system might still have the file type set as .Zip even though it appears that you have renamed the extension to .gadget.

To continue, follow the appropriate steps for your version of Windows.

Windows Vista

  1. Right-click on the TaskList.gadget file and select Windows Sidebar from the Open With submenu.
  2. In the Windows Sidebar - Security Warning dialog box, click Install.

The TaskList Gadget will then be installed in the Windows Sidebar and will be ready to use.

Windows 7

  1. Right-click on the TaskList.gadget file and select the Open With command.
  2. In the Open With dialog box, select Windows Desktop Gadgets and click OK.
  3. In the Desktop Gadgets - Security Warning dialog box, click Install.

The TaskList Gadget will then be installed in the Desktop and will be ready to use.

Other gadgets

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.