How to Know if There Are Unnecessary Processes Running in the Background of My Computer

By Daniel Hatter

Too many unnecessary background processes can slow down Windows.
i Photo courtesy Microsoft

Unnecessary background processes waste system resources and can slow down your PC. The Windows Task Manager contains a live-updating list of all the processes currently running on your computer. Go through the list of processes to find out what they are and stop any that aren't needed.

Right-click the desktop taskbar and select "Task Manager."

Click "More Details" in the Task Manager window.

Scroll down to the "Background Processes" section of the Processes tab.

Right-click each process in the section and select "Properties" to view information about it and its associated programs.

Close the Properties dialog. If it didn't give you enough information about the process to know if it's necessary, continue to step 6. Otherwise, skip ahead to step 7.

Right-click the process again and select "Search Online" to conduct a Web search for information about the process. If you can't find any information about its being unnecessary, it is likely a necessary process.

Left-click to select the process in question if it is unnecessary and then click the "End Task" button at the bottom-right.

Confirm the action when prompted to end the unnecessary process.


Open the "Startup" tab of the Task Manager and follow the same method as you did in steps 4 to 6 to learn about the programs that start up automatically on your computer. Click the "Disable" button to disable a startup program.


Information in this article applies to Windows 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other Windows versions.