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What is Tasklist.exe, and why don't I have it?

What is Tasklist.exe, and why don’t I have it?

In several articles here I talk about using a tool called tasklist to
determine which services are being provided by the various instances of svchost.

As it turns out that advice is very confusing for some since
they don’t actually have tasklist. Users with Windows XP Home for one
since tasklist.exe is provided only with Windows XP Pro and (I assume)
Windows 2003 server.

Fortunately there’s an alternative, and it involves one of my favorite

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SysInternals makes a free tool called Process Explorer or “procexp”. I’ve
referenced it in various articles here because it’s a great tool for
viewing everything from what processes are running on your machine, to what process is holding a file open. It
turns out that it’s great for determining which services an instance of a
process is providing.

Here’s a portion of procexp’s display on my machine:

Procexp display

You’ll note that there are at least two instances of SVCHOST.EXE
running. If we double click on one we get the following:

Procexp display

Note the tab labeled “Services” at the top. If we click on that
we’ll get something like this:

Procexp display

This instance of SVCHOST happens to be providing 30 separate services to
the operating system, from “AudioSrv”, aka “Windows
Audio”, on down.

The information is actually a more detailed than tasklist would provide
since it includes the full text name of each service, as well as the
descriptive help information for each found at the bottom of the display.

Process Explorer is free and runs on all Windows
platforms. The services information we’re discussing here only applies to
Windows NT based versions which include Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP
and Windows Server 2003.

Do this

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18 comments on “What is Tasklist.exe, and why don't I have it?”

  1. The information you provide is excellent, can you
    recommend a great reference document on “window processes”, online or in print. thanks

  2. I ran the Process Explorer for SCVHOST.exe and upon opening the details for the SVCHOST.exe taking up 100% usage, I find about 200+ programs. I know this is not normal. There about 100 HKLM or HKCR or some kind of variation. So I’m not sure which to get rid of. And does Process Explorer find them for me?

  3. SysInternals is a great company. I use their process explorer instead of XP’s built in taskman.
    btw, nice page you have leo, keep up the good work :))

  4. Hi everybody,
    i have a question ant process, in which system idle process shows cpu 98%, why is it so
    pls reply back, as in 1 of the interviewer asked me the same question,
    thanks in advance

  5. hi,
    – I want to use it from my program. can I use ‘Process Explorer’?
    – will tasklist.exe work on win2k? exe is single file which I can add on win2k system or any other depedent files needed?



  6. If you have a box with XP pro, you can look in the C:\windows\system32 folder for the program tasklist.exe. From there, it’s only a matter of copying it to the C:\windows\system32 drive on your other computer. Know this works with home, not sure about older versions. A.K.A. 2000.

  7. Under Win2000 the file is called tlist.exe and is not loaded by default. I just loaded it on my Win2000 computer from by Win 2000 Professional CDROM. Mount the CDROM and extract it from the file under Support\tools. Put it in C:\windows\system32. Under START, RUN do tlist /? for options. Hope this helps.

  8. Hi all ,

    Is there any way to know what processes are running on a remote pc in a a LAN, including what files have been opened and what sites have been opened. I want to do this using command prompt only, using commands like tlist, tasklist, process, etc

  9. You still havent stated how to get rid of the error! it’s really annoying how i have to turn on my pc to this error and have no sound.

  10. Most of the tasks can also be accessed by pushing control, alt, delete. You can find most of the processes and charts by the tabs on top.

  11. i would like to know what should be deleted and what should be kept in the Task Manager. When looking at technicians arrnaging computers i see many of them removing many of these tasks. could you kindly tell me what should be keep and what to remove as my CPU usage is being almost all the time high in its percentage.



    There’s no simple or single answer. It depends on your computer, what you have installed, and how you use it all. This article has more: What’s the minimum set of processes needed to run Windows XP?

    – Leo

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