How can I find hidden programs running in the background?

12/05/2022 | by Matt Ballard

find hidden programs

There are programs and utilities that run in the background of every computer. Some of these programs are necessary for your system to function. Others may be malware, adware, or malicious programs designed to hijack your computer or personal information.

Let’s discuss some ways to access these hidden background programs:

Windows Task Manager

Most people have at least heard of “Ctrl+Alt+Delete”. This key combination allows the user to open Windows Task Manager. Task Manager is a utility within the Windows operating system that shows information such as running processes, computer performance, background services, and more. The tab that we will be focusing on is “Processes”.  This section will list running applications, background processes, and Windows processes. A novice user should use caution when choosing whether or not to end a process. Refer to Google and check whether the application or process is safe or legitimate. There are sites that will provide an explanation of most any process found running in the background of your computer.

Computer Management

Computer management is another feature of the Windows operating system that will allow you to see services and applications that are running in the background of your computer. The easiest way to access this feature is through the Windows search. In Windows 10, click the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of the desktop and start typing “computer management”. Using the menu on the left, navigate to “Services and Applications”, expand the menu and highlight “Services”. This will open the services list in the center of the window.

By default, the installed Services will be listed alphabetically. The Status column will display if the service is running. You can highlight the application name and right click to open a dialog box which will list the actions you can take with a specific service. Again, use caution especially before stopping services as they may provide an important function that you need to run your computer.

When in doubt, consult with a trusted IT partner such as SandStorm IT before making changes to background services and programs running on your PC. SandStorm IT can be reached at 901-475-0275.

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