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.