How to Know What Processes in My Computer I Can Delete

by Bear Naff

When your computer was new, it probably felt a lot faster than it does now. Some of that feeling is subjective, based on your perspective and not really due to any change in speed at all. However, chances are good that your computer's performance has decreased somewhat due to various programs being installed and having parts run in the background all of the time. Eventually, you might find yourself staring at the Task Manager, with a list of processes that you don't recognize. Determine which programs are safe to shut down and which are actually needed.

Open the Task Manager either by right-clicking the Taskbar and choosing "Task Manager" or by pressing "Control-Alt-Delete" and choosing the Task Manger from the list of options.

Click on the "Processes" tab and look at the list that appears. You can scroll through the names of every program running on the computer at the time, or organize the list in various ways. To organize the list in alphabetical order, click the "Image Name" header. To sort the programs by how much CPU usage each one is taking up, click the "CPU" listing. To view the amount of RAM being used by each program, click on "Mem Usage."

Open your web browser and go to your preferred search engine. You can find out the most information quickly about any program running on your computer by searching the Internet. Type in the name of the program, being sure to include ".exe" at the end, like it is in the list. Among the search results will be pages that will tell you much more about how the program came to be installed on your computer, what it does, and whether a given process can be deleted.

After you know which programs you can and wish to delete, click on "Start" and "Search." Type in the name of the programs and search for them. When you find the programs, use the program uninstaller, or rename the program by right-clicking its name and clicking "rename." Rename the program to something similar to its original name so that you can find it if you have to reinstall it for some reason.


  • check Disabling Windows Restore is recommended before making too many swaps. Programs can be reinstalled from Windows Restore points if something manages to go wrong.

About the Author

Bear Naff is a 30-something living in Houston who previously wrote for the legal profession. In his day-to-day life, Mr. Naff performs IT work for multiple clients.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera computer image by blaine stiger from