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  WinTasks 5 Professional Software Review
 
 

Test System:

  • Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 installed
  • P4 2.2GHz
  • Gigabyte GX (GA-8SIML)
  • 256MB of DDR RAM

This is the PC my lovely girlfriend uses. She is not a computer enthusiast so it should be a challenge for WinTasks!

Installation

Downloading the program was easy. Weighing in at only 3.6Mb, the program took no time at all to download on my 300K broadband connection. Even dial-up users should be able to get this downloaded in a reasonable time.
Running the downloaded installer, I was presented with a warning note from Service Pack 2. The publisher of the software could not be identified by Windows and it advised me not to install the program. I knew better than that, so I clicked install anyway. After this, the standard installation question were asked and in under three minutes, WinTasks 5 Pro (version 5.03) was installed on my machine.

First Impressions and Usage

Right from the start, WinTasks crammed the main window full of information. When you start the program, you are instantly presented with all the processes running on the machine, the location of the executable that is runnning it, the time it was started and a whole host of other pieces of information including CPU priority and how many threads the process is utilizing. I was impressed!

Main Window

I read the list of process indicated and without any searching, I identified three processes that were no longer required on the system. These processes were leftovers from peripherals and software that I no longer had installed on the computer. This is quite common on computers that have been used regularly. Software that is not unistalled properly or has a badly written unistaller may leave behind a process that dutifully starts itself on Windows startup, but never gets used.

Autostarted Programs

Modules Running

WinTasks Process Library

Consulting the process library, WinTasks gave me the location of the executable that started the process. Armed with this knowledge, I stopped the process and deleted the leftover directory. After doing this for the other items I had spotted, I managed to reduce my memory usage from 42% down to only 28%!

Advanced Usage (Scripting)

Scripting is a feature included in the Pro version of WinTasks. For example, you can write a short script that will increase the priority of your CD burning software if CPU usage exceeds a certain level, thus ensuring that your CD burning will not stall because of other tasks running on your PC.

if proces_name = "nero" and process_cpu_usage > 50
then
inc
endif

Although the script example above would increase the priority of any process with nero in the name, there does not seem to be any way of changing process priorities based on overall CPU or memory usage. This would be a nice and useful addition to the scripting side of things.

Conclusion

WinTasks 5 lifts the fog of confusion from the user's eyes as they stare at the Task Manager, WinTaks allows users to control which processes can and can't run. It also allows them to control the priority of those processes.

WinTasks 5 acheives this aim with ease, providing an interface that has all the required information at hand without having to dig through complex menu systems etc. But one possible downside of WinTasks 5 is, when running, it consumes system resources. Approximately 14MB of memory is used running the program while CPU usage is negligable, unless you are running scripts. This may not mean much to uber users with gigabyte's of memory, but then again, those users might not have a real need for WinTasks anyway. That aside, WinTasks is a great program for any user who needs to tidy up their PC or home server.

However, all that power can be dangerous in the wrong hands. It's important, whenever working with the Registry, to make System Backups before attempting to change your system.

Pros

  • Informative
  • Effective at reducing wayward processes
  • Powerful
  • Small program size
  • Easy to read manual
  • Process Library

Cons

  • May be overwhelming for novice users
  • Takes up system resources when running
  • Script authoring appears to be limited

For purchase information, click here

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Page 2: Setup, Installation, Evaluation and Final Thoughts

 
      Posted by: , November 18, 2004, 6:00 pm  

 
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