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Sunday, 14 September 2008 09:57

Useful Desktop Tools for Windows, Part 2 - ProcessQuickLink

ProcessQuickLink is a free Windows utility that enables you to discover the nature of those mysterious tasks you find running under Microsoft Windows. It can help you find out with a single mouse click whether a given task is benign or suspect.

This continues a series of articles about utilities that can make life easier for you as a  user of Microsoft Windows. (At the moment, this is still the majority of us. If it's not for you, simply move on.)


As mentioned in the first part of this occasional series, I'm always on the look-out for useful utility software that will make my life easier and my work more efficient as I go about my daily work, and I like letting you know in the hope and expectation that they'll be useful for you too.

There's a vast maze of tools for Windows, some of them not worth the binary digits they're made of, but every now and then you come across a little gem.

Today it's the turn of ProcessQuickLink (free to download and use, the download link is on this page).

This is which is part of the Uniblue Systems Process Library web site, one of a number of sites that list details about the numerous tasks (Microsoft or third party) that you might find running under your Windows installation.

Icons in the left margin of the Windows Task Manager.
      Figure 1 - Icons in left margin of Windows Task Manager

We see that ProcessQuickLink displays an icon in the left margin (circled in red) against each active task.

Why is that helpful, and how do you use it? Please read on.

Instead of having to go off on a difficult hunt -- possibly turning into a wild goose chase -- to find out about any given Windows task, with ProcessQuickLink installed you only have to click on the icon adjacent to the task name and a window describing this task opens in your default browser.

For example, to pick one out of a hat, there's a task named csrss.exe (see green arrow in Figure 1). You don't know what it is.

You haven't noticed it before. Is it a vital Windows component? Is it something installed by a third-party application? It may be unexpectedly chewing up large chunks of your system resources (CPU and/or disk).

Worst of all is it some sort of undesirable program -- maybe even malware (virus, trojan, spyware, adware) -- that you'll want to delete as soon as possible? And if you do delete it, will Windows stop operating properly or even come to a grinding halt and refuse to ever boot up again?

Here are the ProcessQuickLink results for this task (csrss.exe):

Click to see larger image (in a new window).
      Figure 2 - Process Library results for csr22.exe task
Click to see larger image (in a new window)
You can examine the actual results page here

As you can see this is a valid Microsoft-provided Windows task and one that you most definitely do not want to cancel!

There certainly are other ways to get to this point, but using ProcessQuickLink is the easiest that I've found yet.

I hope that this tip helps get you out of trouble some time. I'd love to hear about it from you via the iTWire comments system.

Don't forget to have some fun and a challenge or two that I've devised for you!
Go visit the iTWire TechWords Interactive Crosswords section.

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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.

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