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More Great Ways to Speed up Vista: Stop Resource Intensive Processes

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/12/2009

This step-by-step Windows Vista tutorial provides instruction on how to speed up system performance by disabling resource-intensive programs and processes.

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    Tip #12: End Resource-intensive Processes

    You may sometimes find that your computers is running or responding especially slowly, for example, opening or saving files takes an especially long time. A common cause for this is when one or more background processes take your hard drive hostage, overloading it with high rates of disc reads/writes. This places a physical strain on your hard drive, slowing down its operation. You can use the Task Manager to identify the resource-draining process or processes, and then end them. Read on to learn how:

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    Find out Which Services are Running Under a Particular Process

    Before you end any process, it is critical that you first determine which program or service it is associated with. If the process is associated with a system service, then ending it will cause that service to malfunction. Here's how:

    1. Right-click your taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.
    2. Click on the Processes tab.
    3. Right-click on the process and then click on Go to Service(s). This will switch you over to the Services tab, where all the services that are associated with the particular process will be highlighted.


    • If there are no highlighted services, this simply means that that the service associated with a particular process is running under a different user’s account
    • To display the processes currently running from all user accounts, click on the button labeled: Show processes from all users. Enter a password or provide confirmation if prompted.


    • If there is a program associated with the process, Ending a process will close that program and you will lose any unsaved changes or data.
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    How to End a Resource-intensive Process

    1. First try closing all of your open programs to see if that ends the process. If not, then proceed to end it via the task Manager.
    2. Right-click on your taskbar and then click Task Manager. This will open the Task Manager.
    3. Click on the Processes tab. This will list all of the processes that you currently have running under your own user account, as well as a description of each of the processes.
    4. Click on the process you want to end. Click End Process.

    NOTE: You can view all of the processes that are currently running on your PC by clicking on the button: Show processes from all users. Enter a password or provide confirmation if prompted by the UAC.

    Task Manager - Processes 2 Task Manager - Processes 3 

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