How to Tell if Programs are Running Behind Your Desktop

by Contributor

The Windows operating system consists of a variety of programs and services combined with programs you've installed. Windows services are generally necessary and minimized so they don't slow down your system. However, if you've just installed a new program or update and your system slows down, it may be the culprit. It's easy to tell if the program is running in the foreground, with an interactive window. But some programs also include background processes that aren't obvious. This is where the Windows Task Manager comes in.


Right-click the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Click the "Task Manager" option.


Use the "Applications" tab to see programs running in the foreground and close any that aren't responding. Click on the "Processes" tab. This tab displays processes running in the background.


Examine the background processes for any applications you've installed recently that aren't running in the foreground. The listing also tell you how much of your system memory the application is taking. While you can stop it from here, uninstalling the program, changing its options or using the "msconfig" utility to remove it from the startup list is a more efficient method of solving the problem.


  • close Closing some processes will make windows crash. If windows crashes, just reboot the computer.

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