Saturday May 18, 2024

WinTasks 4 Professional Review

Company Info: Leading Interactive
Category: Windows Utitilies
Supported OS: Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP
Price: $49.95
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Reviewer: Wayne Eggert
Date: July 06, 2003

I was given the opportunity to review WinTasks 4 Professional by Leading Interactive, a Sweden-based company, after the fine folks there gratiously mailed me the software, free of charge. I am reviewing this software on Windows XP, but it is backwards compatible with other Windows versions (although some features may not be available in all Windows versions). The software appeals to IT professionals, software developers, and advanced users of Windows with its advanced Task Manager features and scripting interface.

1. Installation
2. Features
3. Compatibility
4. Conclusions/Recommendations

1. Installation
Installation is very straightforward. The software takes less that 3MB of disk space, so the install is completed within seconds. Following installation, the user can immediately start WinTasks up and view a list of processes that are currently running on the system.

2. Features
WinTasks 4 Professional is full of features that can benefit programmers and IT professionals. One very useful feature is the ability to view up to 24 hours of CPU and Memory usage graphs. If you're a software developer and are trying to determine if your program is stable or find memory leaks, this would certainly be of use. IT Professionals would also find these graphs to be helpful in determining specific software bottlenecks or in determine resource requirements for software they are evaluating.

Another useful feature is the ability to stop or change the priority of multiple processes with a single click. Running processes and priorities can also be saved to presets to allow for a system state to be easily restored. While Windows XP usually does a decent job at stopping a process when killed through Task Manager, I can remember many times in Windows 98 where nothing beyond a reset would allow me to kill a process. Often the BSOD would appear, taking any programs I had previously been working with along with it. This alone should motivate Windows 95/98 users to consider this software, if for nothing else but to easily identify problematic programs and end them.

Ever wonder what specific dlls were being used by a process? How about the number of threads owned by a process or executable file properties and version information? WinTasks 4 Professional allows you to view all of these details and more. There is an unbelievable amount of information that can be viewed about each process. You even have the ability to rename a process or add user notes on a per process basis to quickly help identify a process in the future.

If you've ever been plagued by a program that constantly starts when you boot up Windows, WinTasks can help with that too. Auto-starting programs can be enabled, disabled, added, and removed. WinTasks can be very helpful in finding Spyware, Trojans, or those annoying programs that are causing your system to run slow.

Probably hands-down the most useful feature in this program is the scripting ability it contains and the versatility that it allows. The scripting runs in the background and constantly checks the status of the processes. In doing this, you could set the priority of a process to be decreased if the percentage of CPU time it is using reaches say, 50%. You could also chain processes such that when starting Microsoft Word, the calculator also loads up. The flexibility of the included scripting language, if used correctly, allows for unbound possibilities and is without a doubt a very handy tool.

3. Compatibility
As I mentioned earlier, WinTasks 4 Professional is compatible with Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP, but there are some features that are not available in all Windows versions. On Windows NT, the number of threads per process is not supported. On Windows 98 the CPU usage and memory usage statistics per process are not available. Additionally, for security purposes, system processes cannot be stopped in Windows NT/2000/XP.

4. Conclusions/Recommendations
While WinTasks 4 Professional may appear at first glance to be simply an upgraded Task Manager, it is undoubtedly much more. The scripting features of the software allow for limitless possibilities in controlling programs and processes. Unresponsive programs can be easily found and killed regardless of the Operating System being used. Software developers and IT Professionals will find the detailed process information and graphs to be beneficial in identifying software leaks and problematic software. Some may find the cost of the software to be a little high, especially considering some of the features could be fascilitated through the use of freeware programs or built in Windows functions, but the software does an excellent job of combining elements related to process management into a single interface and the scripting utilities it includes are unmatched. I would definitely recommend this software to anyone in software development, IT, or a similar field that requires advanced task management.

Final Rating: 4.0/5.0

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