Tech Tips / Windows XP / Performance Monitoring and Optimization
Decipher the name behind the process
Windows XP runs numerous processes. To view
them, open Task Manager and go to the Process tab. While several of
these processes are self-explanatory, the majority of them are
Here's a short description of some XP
Csrss.exe: The Client Server Runtime Subsystem process, also known
as the Win32 subsystem, generates a worker thread for client
Explorer.exe: This process is the user interface/default Windows
Iexplorer.exe: This process is the built-in Web browser.
Inetinfo.exe: The Internet Information
Services (IIS) process is Microsoft's Web server.
Lsass.exe: The Local Security Authentication Server process
receives authentication requests from Winlogon and calls the
appropriate authentication package.
Mdm.exe: The Machine Debug Manager is a support process for
Msmsgs.exe: The Microsoft Windows Messenger
process is the built-in instant messaging application.
Services.exe: The Service Control Manager process is responsible
for starting, stopping, and interacting with system services.
Smss.exe: The Session Manager Subsystem is the first user mode
process that's created. It's responsible for the initial launch of
other subsystem processes.
Svchost.exe: This is a placeholder process, or Service Host, where
all DLL-based services execute.
System: The System process contains the majority of the kernel-mode
System Idle Process: This process runs when no other process is
Winlogon.exe: The logon process handles interactive user logons and
This list includes processes that are found on
most computers, but it's not exhaustive.