By Mark Russinovich
Published: May 16, 2017
Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
The Process Explorer display consists of two sub-windows. The top window always shows a list of the currently active processes, including the names of their owning accounts, whereas the information displayed in the bottom window depends on the mode that Process Explorer is in: if it is in handle mode you'll see the handles that the process selected in the top window has opened; if Process Explorer is in DLL mode you'll see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded.
The unique capabilities of Process Explorer make it useful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.
- Windows Internals
The official updates and errata page for the definitive book on Windows internals, by Mark Russinovich and David Solomon.
- Windows Sysinternals Administrator's
The official guide to the Sysinternals utilities by Mark Russinovich and Aaron Margosis, including descriptions of all the tools, their features, how to use them for troubleshooting, and example real-world cases of their use.
- Client: Windows Vista and higher (Including IA64).
- Server: Windows Server 2008 and higher (Including IA64).
Simply run Process Explorer (procexp.exe).
The help file describes Process Explorer operation and usage. If you have problems or questions please visit the Sysinternals Process Explorer Forum.
Here are some other handle and DLL viewing tools and information available at Sysinternals:
- The case of the
In this video, Mark describes how he has solved seemingly unsolvable system and application problems on Windows.
- Handle - a command-line handle viewer
- ListDLLs - a command-line DLL viewer
- PsList - local/remote command-line process lister
- PsKill - local/remote command-line process killer
- Defrag Tools: #2 - Process
In this episode of Defrag Tools, Andrew Richards and Larry Larsen show how to use Process Explorer to view the details of processes, both at a point in time and historically.
- Windows Sysinternals Primer: Process Explorer, Process Monitor and
Process Explorer gets a lot of attention in the first Sysinternals Primer delivered by Aaron Margosis and Tim Reckmeyer at TechEd 2010.