Review: WinTasks 4 Professional

WinTasks 4 Pro is a Windows adminstation utility developed by LIUtilities in Sweden. It runs on all major flavors of Windows, however, it is mostly recommended for use on NT/2000 and XP systems. WinTasks is able to list the processes (tasks) on your running system and allows you to manipulate them according to your needs.WinTasks 4 Professional is only 900 KB in size and the installation is an easy task. You only have to follow the dialog boxes asking where to install the application. After you fire up the app, WinTasks will start and a small computer chip icon it will be placed in the taskbar. Even if you close down the application, WinTasks still runs in the background. To completely close down the app, you need to right click on the taskbar’s icon and select “Exit” from the little menu. WinTasks will start up automatically the next time you reboot your computer. You have to specifically click on its Settings menu and tell it otherwise if you do not want this to happen. WinTask tries to stay open permanently because it has good reasons: To create an effective Event Log and to be able to run Scripts on scheduled time.

In its main window, the application displays a series of three icons, a list view describing the processes running at the current time, and a small panel giving information on these proesses (name, description, and there is even a form to add your personal notes on a given process). Right clicking on a process causes a small context menu to appear and gives you the choice of stopping a process, increasing or decreasing its priority, and resetting the process’ name.

In the first row of the icon view, you get effectively the same functionality as the context menu discussed above, a search box, a refresh button, and even a form field to execute a new program. In the second row, you can set which processes should autostart in your next reboot, a “Windows” button which opens a window that shows you the threads running for the given selected process, while the modules panel shows which .dlls the given process depends on. The statistics window is fun; you can view the CPU and Memory usage in a nice graphical way. But even if you do not open this window, the CPU and Memory usage is always listed at the info bar at the bottom of the main WinTasks window.

Click for a larger version

The Event Log is pretty useful as well, listing which processes were added or closed down and at which time. It also shows which threads or modules were added or closed by the system and at which time.

One of the abilities found in WinTasks is that it supports scripting. In my installation, there were no sample scripts included, though, so I can’t comment on what exactly you can do with it.

WinTasks is a very useful application, especially if you are control freak, or simply, an adminstrator. It was cool that an SAGENT process was captured by WinTasks on my Win98 laptop, which is nothing but… spy software that comes with KaZaA, and it was not visible before anywhere in my system. But WinTasks tracked it down. I got suspicious of the name of the dll, I searched on google about it, and I found that it was spyware. Also, if you are an admin or a developer, WinTasks can also help you do your job easier, as this is the market LIUtilities is after.

However, the app is not all roses. WinTasks under Win9x is a bit buggy, still. While the helpfull guys at LIUtilities supplied me with the latest bug fixed version 4.04, I still encountered some bugs. The very annoying thing is that every time WinTasks will display an alert error window for something it does not like (eg “Invalid Bitmap” errors if you press PrintScreen under Win98), it will display it all the time, it won’t stop spawing alert windows until you manually kill the app with the ALT-CNTRL-DEL panel.

Application-wise, WinTasks is a nice app, but I think that the only thing it’s missing is the information as to how much memory each process is consuming. Also, a check to display an alert each time someone is trying to kill or change the priority of kernel32.dll would be recommended. A user can easily lock the system if he/she changes the priorities or kills the system processes.

Overall 8/10


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