How to Find Hidden Programs Running in the Background

February 7, 2015 • Software & Security

Not all programs are visibly displayed on your computer’s taskbar. Other programs are intentionally hidden from being viewed because they act as valid background services or processes that do not need constant access via the taskbar. WindowsSome programs remain open even after closing them. This is a common practice especially with peer-to-peer utilities that require them to be open  for other users to download shared files from your computer. Some of these open programs are part of your operating system while others can be malicious spyware, viruses or adware intending to access your information. Check out the following ways on how to view these hidden programs:

Using Task Manager

#1: Press “Ctrl + Alt + Delete” and then choose “Task Manager”. Alternatively you can press “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” to directly open task manager.

#2: To see a list of processes that are running on your computer, click “processes”. Scroll down to view the list of hidden and visible programs. Check the description and the name to identify each process. Check the “memory” column to see the memory capacity consumed by each process. You can get additional information by searching online for the process name. You can right-click on any active process and choose “End process” to end the program.

#3: Press “Windows key + E” to launch open windows explorer. Choose the “View” tab and click “Options”. Thereafter click “Change folder search options”. In the folder options window, click the “View” tab and select “Show hidden files and folders” and then click “Ok”.

#4: Press “Windows – S” to open the search pane. Type the name of the program you are trying to find and it should appear on the returned results.

#5: Right click the file in search results and click “Open file location”. Browse the folder to see the program that the process belongs to. If you cannot find any information about the program, use the file name to search online. There are sites that can give you information on whether the program is an adware, virus or a spyware. (i.e. )

Using Computer Management

#1: Press “windows key + R” to launch a run box. Type “compmgmt.msc” on the run field and press enter. In computer management window click “+” beside services and applications and click on “services”.

#2: To sort the list by status click “status” column. The services which are listed as “started” are the processes currently running.

#3: Click any of the listed services and check the description at the left pane for a description. Most services are installed by Windows but several programs add automatic services to this list.

#4: Right click on application name and select “Properties”. Note the path and file name of the application. Click on “Dependencies” to identify the programs that are dependent on the process to run.

#5: Right click any of the services and select “Stop” to deactivate the service.


Disabling Programs to Speed Up Your PC
Have you ever heard of disabling startup programs as a way to boost your computer speed? These are the programs hidden in the background on your computer. Some of these programs can be disabled safely to help increase the performance of your PC.

To disable these programs from starting, follow these steps:

Open the “System configuration” window and then go to “Startup” tab. A list of programs displayed starts when your computer boots. Simply un-tick the programs you don’t want to start during startup and this will disable the programs. After finishing, click “Apply” and then “Ok”.

The programs listed in the configuration utility depend on the operating system and the programs installed on your computer.

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