How-To Geek

Use Windows Vista Task Manager to See File Name of Running Process

One of the nicer upgrades in Windows Vista is the ability to see the file name of a running process through the Task Manager. How many times have you seen a process in Task Manager but couldn’t figure out where on earth it was located? This ability isn’t turned on by default, but it’s simple enough to do.

To start task manager, just right click on the taskbar and choose task manager. Then select the View menu and Select Columns.

Then select the Image Path Name checkbox in the list.

Now you should see the file name in the list of running processes:

If you see items that don’t have an image path name, that’s because they are running from the windows directory, or somewhere in the system path.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/21/07

Comments (10)

  1. ishtiaq

    i chose the CPU Usage view once and can’t revert back to the original view now. any suggestions?

  2. Jesica

    How do you know what is not needed on the computer in the processes in task manager?

  3. Brian

    my ultimate task manager is gone! does not appear in a Ctrl-Alt-Del nor can I access it thru the taskbar. how can i get it back without a re-install?


  4. Andrew

    i have exactly the same problem as brian, i bought my computer from pc world and because it was the last one in stock it was on show, so when i press ctrl alt & del the only option that comes up is switch user, im clueless and i use task manager non stop usually, any help would be very much appreciated, thanks

  5. whs

    I am not sure whether this is available in the Vista Home editions. At least I could not find the “Select columns” in the drop down of Home Premium. The other two options were there.

  6. Franklin Matos

    Task Manager has two different views. To see the view that includes menus and tabs, double-click the border of the Task Manager window. To switch back to the view without menus and tabs, double-click anywhere in the border around the tabs.

  7. IronMac

    Franklin, thanks for that great tip!

  8. westroli

    Awesome, awesome tip, Franklin, I’ve been dealing with the non-menu view for a year, thought it was some bug….haven’t been able to view ‘processes”…awesome

  9. pypopsynasy

    How’s it going – Wow, what a great forum

    Just registered and wanted to say hello.

  10. Jordan

    Same problem as Brian… this blog doesn’t help at all.

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