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Software suggestions: Does anyone know a good software for showing what programs are running in the background?


I know there are great programs out there that show hidden programs on your computer that are running.

I am also looking for a good program that can do a thorough check up on my computer. Lately the hard drive has been whirring suddenly very loudly sometimes and I know it’s some hidden program doing it. On task manager, the hard drive shows it’s running at 100% when this happens.

I used to have software called System Mechanic by iolo that checked things out on my computer but I was reading reviews of it saying it wasn’t good any more.

I’ve also had a few times where the touchpad has stopped responding and I had to do a shutdown and reboot. This has been a completely problem free laptop until recently.


It could be the effect of a memory leak of some program (Firefox is prone to this).

If you are running Windows, type msconfig In the “Run” dialog.

You will see a multi-tabbed menu, and among the tabs the “Services” one.
You can order the list and eventually spot, among the non-Microsoft services, the offender.
The “Tools” tab groups the tools that are used to monitor and log programs and events, and I would look also there.
Windows has also a semi-hidden malware removal tool that you can launch typing mrt. It’s a wizard.


Thank you. I did use the task manager to remove a couple of unknown programs that were running. I used to have a great software program that would list all the hidden programs running, which are not always all shown in the task manager.

I have installed Firefox recently although I don’t use it.

That software program would show how active each program was, how much it was running the hard drive, in a graph over time.


You can find trace of what is defined to run when you log in, looking in the System Registry.
Type regedit and browse to:


You will find the programs that run on a user basis.

** this code may vary.


I used to use CNET as a place to find software programs, mostly utilities but that site is totally different now.

Does anyone know a site that lists and reviews software programs?


If possible avoid these “utilities”. The only programs that I have found effective in extreme cases were:
** Combofix (Removal tool. Terrific, but may have collateral effects).
** Active SMART (disk diagnosis).


I’ve never used disk cleanup on this laptop and now it’s very slow to open the pictures partition and some others. I don’t want to stress the hard drive. This laptop is four years old and I have had them die at that time.


I suggest to run at least once Active SMART (the trial is free). Traditional hard disks have a number of “spare” sectors that are used to replace the ones that fail. When the stock ends, it’s over.


Do you have 2 drives? I´ve found that cleaning up folders like documents, screenshots, downloads, i.e. shoving stuff I don´t need now or possibly never again into folders and moving them to my data drive, makes a big difference in performance. For instance, I push all screenshots I don´t have the time to look through in order to delete/keep, into zip folders and those to the D drive.

For running programs - on my last laptop, some stupid ad program had somehow installed itself together with another program and slowed me down and I needed ages to figure out which it was and to get rid of it.
There are nice pages like shouldiremoveit . com which help you figure out what is trash and can be dumped and what you might be better off keeping.


I’ve never had a computer with two hardrives. I will do a cleanup.


I forgot Sysinternals (directly from Microsoft):


This one in sysinternals looks very useful for me:

Wish you could quickly defragment your frequently used files? Use Contig to optimize individual files, or to create new files that are contiguous.

these two also look useful:

Graphical disk sector utility.

Disk Usage (DU)
View disk usage by directory.

The rest of the list of things it does look incomprehensible to me.


You are probably interested to Autoruns
However, there is no Microsoft application that reads the S.M.A.R.T. attributes, that are implemented at hardware level (see suggestion above).


It’s alarming when the hard drive suddenly starts roaring and at first I never realize it’s the computer making that loud noise. And of course it freezes when it does that.


That link you gave shows a 404 error page.


As well as checking what programs/processes are running (task manager etc.), I’d defragment the drive like suggested. Maybe also do a virus scan. It’s probably also a good idea to back up important files first eg. in case you remove anything you need or if the drive did fail etc.


I am due to renew my virus ware does anyone have a suggestion for a good one?


Kaspersky :sunglasses:


Google Windows Defender if you are on a Windows computer and download it. It’s free from Microsoft and I’ve always used it with good results. It updates automatically weekly.


I think that came with my computer. I will have to check. :thinking:

I just checked and I have Windows Defender. So I do not need any additional anti virus program?