one thing you can bet on with the applets included in any
Windows operating system installation is that someone will
create better versions. While not really an applet in the
truest sense, running Windows Task Manager is usually a
necessity at times to kill a dead program or process, find
out what has slowed Windows to a crawl or get information
about what's currently running on the computer. Security
Task Manager could be considered a better version of Task
Manager, but it really stands alone as a related but distinctly
you run Security Task Manager, you are given an entirely
new view of the processes running on your Windows PC.
The program shows considerable information in addition
to basics such as computer name, CPU load and memory
usage. Security Task Manager also shows the locations
of running files, the types of files, when each file
starts and each file maker's name if it can be located.
On top of that, Security Task Manager includes a rating
for each running process which shows a graded determination
of the risk the process poses. The program uses twenty
characteristics of a process to make its risk analysis.
Security Task Manager lists processes by order of risk,
with high risk items at the top. It also colors the entry
lines in varying shades of pink, darker being more dangerous.
In the lower section of the program window there are
details about the selected process. The left side of
the window contains a summary showing the process name,
its icon, description, type and the file location. Right
of center is a Properties box showing the assigned rating
and Security Task Manager's reason for the rating. To
the right of that is a “text in file” box
which pulls text out of the process file and displays
first glance, dark pink apparent all over the place,
it seemed my PC was hopelessly compromised. Once the
initial shock wore off I noticed that a number of the
pink entries were normal and necessary processes. There's
a note under “Risk Rating of processes” in
the help file which mentions that “Highly rated
programs do not always have to be dangerous. They just
have some typical spyware properties." So don't
freak out until you actually look at what's been flagged.
Security Task Manager allows you to change the risk rating
anyway. Under the summary window, locate the Comment
title and click where it says “Click here to change
the Rating”. You can then click a check box for “don't
know or neutral”, “not dangerous” or “dangerous”.
You can also insert a comment about the process. Once
you hit F5 to refresh the display, the process will show
it's new rating.
neat set of features are the options available when you
right click a process. These include View Folder which
opens Windows Explorer to the file's folder. “Google
IT”, which opens your browser and takes you to
Neuber Software's Known Processes link. From there you
can read other users' opinions about the process and
add your own opinion, including your risk rating. There
is also Comment, which is another way to change the process'
rating, "Remove" which will kill the process
or move it to the quarantine area and "Properties" which
opens the Windows properties dialog.
final thing Security Task Manager gives you is reporting.
It's basic in that it contains the same information as
the process list, but it is nicely formatted and can
be printed properly or exported as an HTML file. Good