The Mac OS Application Menu provides most Mac users with all they need to know about the applications running on their machine. But there is a whole world of other applications, or processes, that are hidden from the casual user. You may never need to know about these hidden processes, but in case you are doing some troubleshooting, or are just plain nosy, there is a way to monitor and control them. Enter ProcessWatcher.
When you start ProcessWatcher, you'll be greeted with a window showing all of the processes running on your Mac. You may be surprised at how many you find. On our test machine, we counted 14 separate background processes! But this is only the start. If you want to get detailed information about a process, just double-click on it.
Detailed Information on a Background Process
If, for whatever reason you'd like to terminate a process, you can select it from the process list and select Kill from the Process menu. You may want to do this for a number of reasons, from making more processor time available, to helping restore an unresponsive system, to getting rid of processes whose origin you are unsure of. Be careful since you can mess up your system if you kill off essential processes.
But this is only the beginning. If you have another computer, you can view and control the processes on that machine. This can be very useful for system administrators and others, who need to be able to know what is happening with a machine that is not physically accessible. You'll need to fiddle with several settings to enable Program Linking and Sharing of the PWd background application on the remote machine. After launching PWd on the remote machine, you can choose Remote Connection on the local machine, and select the PWd process. You can now view, and even kill, process on the remote machine.
So learn about and take control of all processes on both your own machine, as well as remote machines, and get ProcessWatcher.
Have any other Mac OS Gadgets that you make you feel all warm inside? Write John via e-mail, so he can review it, or share it with the rest of us in the Mac Gadget Forum.
Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at