5 Best Powerful Task Manager Alternatives for Windows

By | May 1, 2022

As a Windows user, you will occasionally run into problems: unresponsive windows, high CPU usage, high disk usage, suspicious apps, etc. When that happens, Windows Task Manager should be your first line of defense.

Unfortunately, Windows Task Manager is not very impressive. Does it receive many upgrades with Windows 10? But the more you use it, the more you realize it’s lacking in some areas.

That’s why we recommend using an alternative task manager. The ones below are more advanced, more powerful, and best of all, available for free. There’s no risk, so why not give it a try?

Process Explorer
Back in 2012, we called Process Explorer the most powerful Task Manager replacement ever – and that holds true even today. Provided by Sysinternals, Process Explorer is a portable application that comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Once launched, you will see an overview of all the processes running on your system organized in a hierarchy. There is also a lower pane (off by default) which shows which DLL or handle the process is using. These two features combine to make system troubleshooting easier.

Notable features include:

  • Color coded process list for easier navigation.
  • See which open files are locked by the process.
  • Set Affinity and Priority actions for processes.
  • Restart, Suspend, Kill Process and Kill Process Tree actions.
  • Real-time CPU, GPU, RAM and I/O diagnostic data and graphs.

Process Hacker

Process Hacker is the only open source Task Manager alternative on this list.

It comes in an installed and portable version and is almost identical to the above Process Explorer. An overview of system processes showing a hierarchical, color coded tree packed with information. There’s no lower pane, but you can learn everything you need to know about a process by right-clicking on it.

So why is Process Hacker ranked lower than Process Explorer? Because Process Hacker development is on the slower side. While the project’s GitHub is active, the last stable release as of this writing is from 2016.

Notable features include:

  • Color coded process list for easier navigation.
  • Assign Affinity, Priority and I/O actions to processes.
  • Find process by window and window by process.
  • Restart, Suspend, Stop and Terminate Tree actions.
  • Manage services, network connections, and disks.
  • Real-time CPU, GPU, RAM and I/O diagnostic data and graphs.

System Explorer

Despite its generic name, System Explorer is far from run-of-the-mill. Not only does it help with process management, it comes with a number of features that can increase system security and protect against disasters. Unfortunately, there is no portable version available.

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My favorite feature is the per-process CPU usage history, which can be viewed over the past few minutes, hours, and days. You can also view the overall system performance in real time, showing some tricky details such as the number of page faults or the percentage of system crashes.

Another standout feature is Snapshots. With System Explorer, you can create File, Registry, or File + Registry snapshots that you can compare with each other for better troubleshooting. Security Scan is also available, if you see any suspicious process.

Notable features include:

  • Scans running processes against an online security database.
  • Detailed CPU usage history on a per-process basis.
  • Save and compare File, Registry, and File + Registry snapshots.
  • Set Affinity and Priority actions for processes.
  • Restart, Suspend, End Process, and End Process Tree.
  • Manage modules, autoruns, drivers, users and more.

DeLuxe Task Manager

Task Manager DeLuxe (TMX) promotes itself as a direct replacement for Task Manager unless better. TMX has a somewhat messy interface, but once you learn how to use it (which doesn’t take any time at all), you’ll realize that every bit is useful. It is only available as a portable application.

In addition to real-time monitoring of system processes, services, and network connections, TMX enables management of applications and startup tasks. You’ll find charts and graphs for various monitors informative, and I like that TMX can immediately increase privileges for any process.

Notable features include:

  • Desktop Explorer shows process details on mouse through windows.
  • Real-time detailed monitoring of individual processes.
  • Browse, search and filter all opened or locked files.
  • Find process by window and window by process.
  • Restart, Suspend and Stop action.
  • Manage services, network connections, and disks.
  • Real-time CPU, GPU, RAM and I/O diagnostic data and graphs.

Take note that some web filters, such as K-9 Web Protection, flag the MiTeC team site under the Spyware/Malware category. I didn’t find the problem there, but if you want to be careful you can download the DeLuxe Task Manager from MajorGeeks instead (we trust this site to download the safest Software).

Daphne
Daphne may not look like much, but this lightweight app fits perfectly. Yes, the text walls and boneless interface might overwhelm you at first, but you’ll love it because it can do some unique things. Unfortunately, a portable version is not available.

First, Daphne has four ways to kill a process: direct, polite immediately (without force), scheduled, and politely scheduled. Want to wait up to a certain day and time to end a task? Daphne makes it possible and easy. It also has the option to run the process on a specific day and time.

In addition, apart from finding processes by window or window by process, Daphne can move processes forward or backward, adjust alpha transparency, or even resize windows. It’s not just a task killer, but a real task manager.

Notable features include:

  • Ability to kill processes politely and/or at scheduled times.
  • Kill all processes that match the name filter.
  • Separate hierarchical view of the process hierarchy.
  • Find process by window and window by process.
  • Set Affinity and Priority actions for processes.
  • Copy all processes directly to clipboard for troubleshooting.

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