How to Check Background Processes

by Richard Klopfenstein

Background processes may be required for an operating system to run, but they can sometimes reduce performance by consuming too much of a CPU's attention. To determine if this is the case, you'll need to see which programs are actually running.

Checking a PC

Windows lists all the background processes using an application called Task Manager. To open it, press CTRL+ALT+ESC. The "Applications" tab will display normal programs that are open. The "Processes" tab will display background Windows process that are running.

Checking a Mac

Mac computers list all the background processes in an application called Activity Monitor. To open it, select it from the "Utility" sub-folder in the "Applications" folder. The Activity Monitor will show all processes and applications that are running.

Turning Off Processes

For Windows, select the application or process you would like to end in Task Manager, then click the "End Task" or "End Process" button at the bottom. For Macs, select the application or process you would like to end in Activity Monitor, and click the "Quit Process" icon on the top left.

About the Author

Richard Klopfenstein began writing in 2009 as a political editorialist for "The Independent Florida Alligator." Klopfenstein's expertise includes improvisation, comedy, design, photography and television production management. He recently graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from