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What's Running?

Knowing continually what you have running on your machine is essential to smart computing. Unfortunately, the tools supplied with Windows 9x will not tell you much at all.

The 9x Task Manager, for all its flash, is less than worthless. It will only show you 'applications' anyway, and further only applications which fall into severely limited categories. It will not show you any of the following:

  • Windows which have no caption.
  • Windows which are not visible.
  • Processes which have no windows.
  • Drivers and services.

It stands to reason that any surreptitious program is not about to put itself into a category so it can be displayed by Windows 9x's Task Manager. And most of these trojans won't need a 'window' anyway, hidden or not. The key to seeing what is going on in your box is having a list of all running drivers and processes.

Yes, radsoft.net has tools (such as 007, 007+, X-perf and X-tool) which allow you to view all this information, but this is not a sales pitch; if you can find adequate software elsewhere, 'go for it'. But your 'task manager' tools should show you all windows in your system, all processes, all drivers, and all services, without exception.

After a while, you will recognize what should be running and what is new to your various lists (especially the process list), and your eyebrow will go up all by itself. You're becoming adept at smart computing.

Next: Am I Already Infected?

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