Useful Windows Tools

Sometimes your Windows computer might have some weird problems that seem like they would be easy to resolve, if only you had the right tools.

Fortunately, there are some cool, free software tools that can help you do just that.

Ever get a weird error message, and Google is not helping you find the answer? Or it gives you some hint what might be the problem, but you are still not exactly sure what to do to fix it?

You should launch your program in question and use this tool to help you:

Procmon – Sysinternals – It shows you all sorts of stuff like what registry keys are being queried, what files are being opened, and so on. You can filter it by the name of the process so that you only have to look through what your desired process is doing. When the error message comes up make sure you understand as much as possible what the error might mean, and look for events that are near the occurrence of the problem. For instance, if your error message is along the lines “file not found,” look in Procmon for a directory that was queried and a result “NAME NOT FOUND.” This can be very helpful in some situations.

I have one recommendation – make sure that you clear the captured event log frequently This thing can cause your computer to freeze or crash by taking up all available RAM on your computer! Also when you are finished using it, don’t leave it running – close it!

Heare are some more helpful tools:

ShellEx View – Nirsoft – Ever want to get rid of that weird looking context-menu option when you right click on a file? Did you already uninstall the related program, but it is still there? Or maybe you can’t even uninstall the program? This handy tool will allow you to view all of the “shell extensions” that are on your system. Once you remove the one you don’t like, you will no longer see it. It’s that easy.

WhatInStartup – Nirsoft – One of the most elusive things can be “why does this program keep starting up every time I turn on my computer?” By using this program called ‘WhatInStartup,” you can see every single program that is set to start up on your system. Not only that: you can also disable, remove, or even add programs to start up on boot. This is also a great way to remove most common viruses,  because most of them load some sort of process on your computer on every startup. Be very careful not to get any virus though, they are getting more evolved and might use very advanced techniques in order to avoid detection altogether.

Process Hacker – I almost never use the default Windows Task manager anymore. I use Process Hacker. I use this in conjunction with a temperature monitor, CoreTemp . It’s more user friendly to me than the default Task Manager.

Ever wonder why in the world your computer is suddenly jumping up in temperature? You should check out the problem using Process Hacker. Just sort by CPU in descending order, and you will probably find one or more processes eating up all your CPU cycles. Same thing with freezing – maybe a process is taking up too much RAM.

Now here’s something your default Task Manager can’t do – what if a certain file can’t be deleted or opened because it is “locked”? You can use “Find Handles or DLLs” and even close the related handles / unload the DLLs right from Process Hacker!

That’s all for this week, I hope this trick was informative and helpful to you.



About tricksoflife

My name is Robert Florescu and I'll be posting random observations about interesting "tricks" I've found in general.
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