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If you spend any time at all poking through Task Manager, you know that loads of processes run on any Windows system. But what do they do? Is it safe to stop, disable, or re-prioritize them? We’ve got some answers for you.

As part of an ongoing series, we’re taking a closer look at the processes spawned by Windows, common third-party apps, and hardware drivers. Here’s what we’ve collected so far.

Windows Processes

These are processes that are built into Windows:

Third-Party Processes

Some processes, while very common, are not built into Windows, and are instead a part of popular software:

And be sure to check back regularly. We’ll update this page each time we write about a new process.

Walter Glenn Walter Glenn
Walter Glenn is the Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He's authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O'Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He's also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years.
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