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Customized Task Manager in .NET using C# and Windows Forms

, 9 May 2007 137.2K 8.9K 72
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This article outlines how to customise the Task Manager using C# and Windows Forms


All people who are working on any version of the Windows operating system know about Task Manager. They might be using it very frequently to start, end or manage processes. Task Manager has been around for a long time and is commonly used in our daily work. However, it is still lacking some features which might be useful in certain situations. So, I designed this application to provide features which are not present in the built-in Windows Task Manager. This application was created in VS.NET 2003 using C# and Windows Forms.

In this article, I will first explain some features present in the application, and then I will discuss its design and coding.

Task Manager features

This application...

  • Displays all processes running in your system
  • Allows you to add and remove any process (task) on your local machine
  • Highlights current executing processes
  • Enables connection to any machine and displays its process list
  • Allows you to set or get the priority of any process running on your local machine
  • Enables monitoring of .NET CLR managed memory

Creating the application

First, create a new Windows Application in VS.NET 2003 using C# and name it CustomizedTaskManager. Then design the main start-up form as shown below:

I placed a tab control with two tab pages. One is used to display Task Manager and the other to display CLR memory statistics. Then I placed a ListView control on first tab page where all processes and their details are displayed. I added columns like "process name," "process id," etc. to the ListView. Then I added MainMenu to provide following options:

  1. To popup "Connect to remote machine" dialog
  2. To popup "Create new task window"
  3. To control highlighting of currently executing processes
  4. To end a selected process
  5. To exit the application

Add a performance counter component from toolbox and set its CategoryName as .NET CLR Memory and its instanceName as aspnet_wp. You can keep instanceName as the first 15 characters in any .NET-managed application's name. Add appropriate labels to tabpage2 as shown in the figure:

Then add another form, naming it frmnewprcdetails, and design it as shown:

To minimize coding, I am using this form both to display dialog for connecting to a remote machine and to add new task functionality. These are the namespaces I used in Form1:


Initially, I thought of displaying all processes in ListView and updating their details every second using the Threading.Timer object. However, if we update like that for every second by clearing all ListView items and reloading with new details, it will produce a flicker on the form for every reload. So, in order to avoid that problem, I used a hash table. The logic is outlined in the following section.

Design logic

Task functionality

All processes are loaded when the form loads. I've created a timer object with a one second interval to call LoadAllProcesses(). In this method, first I am storing all currently running process' details in a hash table using Process.GetProcesses(machinename). Then I am comparing the hash table contents with each item present in ListView and if its process ID matches in both the hash table and ListView then we will update its details (i.e. processor time, number of threads) and set the ListView item's color to red if its processor time or memory usage is changed.

If any new process is created, then the count of the ListView and HashTable items will not be equal. Based on this condition, I am adding an item to the ListView control from the hash table's contents whose process ID is not present in the ListView control.

If any process has ended, then I am removing that item from ListView by using the ended process' ID. We can get the ended process' ID by finding the items that are present in ListView but not in the current process list (hash table).

In this way, it will update all process details in the ListView control every second without any flicker. In order to create a new task, I am getting the user-selected task's path via the frmnewprcdetails form. We will create that process by calling Process.Start(taskname,arguments).

Then I am providing functionality to end selected processes by calling Process.GetProcessById(selectedprocessid,machinename).Kill().

Remote connection

In order to load a remote machine's process list, you must have administrative rights or equivalent on that remote machine. I am providing a remote machine's process load by setting mcname to the selected machine's IP address from the "Connect to remote machine" dialog. After getting the IP address, I am reloading ListView with the remote machine's process list.


We can get and set the priority of any running process from the context menu control. In the context menu, Set Priority will first make a check mark on the correct MenuItem based on its priority. After the context menu pops up, we can change its priority by clicking the appropriate MenuItem. In the status bar, I am displaying the total count of processes and threads in each panel.


In tabpage2 I am displaying CLR memory details such as heap size. Some applications won't run fast if their objects are not garbage-collected properly. This will help us to see the total heap size and what the share percentage is between Gen 0, Gen 1, and Gen 2 objects. This will help us to know whether our application is running slow because of insufficient CLR memory. This will also help us make the decision of whether or not to call Garbage Collector explicitly in our application code.


I've added the features "Always on top" and "Hide when minimized" to the Options menu. I've also added NotifyIcon to show/hide Task Manager.

The final output will look something like this:


We can still enhance this application by providing more performance counters for processors, ASP.NET applications, good UIs, etc. Please see the article download for further reference. I hope this code will be useful to all.


  • May 9, 2007 - Original version posted


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Web Developer
India India
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionBring to front Pin
damubooks10-Jul-12 8:06
memberdamubooks10-Jul-12 8:06 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Burak Tunçbilek23-Jun-12 7:32
memberBurak Tunçbilek23-Jun-12 7:32 
Generalunable to connect to remote machine pls help Pin
mike_mike8-Apr-11 21:49
membermike_mike8-Apr-11 21:49 
Generalunable to connect to remote machine Pin
rashmishirke24-Feb-11 22:11
memberrashmishirke24-Feb-11 22:11 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
susindhran5-Aug-10 8:05
membersusindhran5-Aug-10 8:05 
GeneralMy vote of 2 Pin
Member 377791422-Jun-09 23:14
memberMember 377791422-Jun-09 23:14 
GeneralSolution about .NET CLR Memory Monitor non working Pin
chris1094-Sep-08 4:41
memberchris1094-Sep-08 4:41 
GeneralHint about .NET CLR Memory Monitor non working Pin
chris1094-Sep-08 0:45
memberchris1094-Sep-08 0:45 CLR Memory Tab not working Pin
Member 389198627-May-08 22:55
memberMember 389198627-May-08 22:55 
GeneralHi same problem Memory monitor not working Pin
smitha198428-Feb-08 20:27
membersmitha198428-Feb-08 20:27 
GeneralInformation about process Pin
CPaolis27-Sep-07 9:27
memberCPaolis27-Sep-07 9:27 
GeneralThis app doesn't show CPU usage Pin
Mikeisa49er19-Jun-07 11:46
memberMikeisa49er19-Jun-07 11:46 
GeneralRe: This app doesn't show CPU usage Pin
sreejith ss nair17-Jun-07 22:54
membersreejith ss nair17-Jun-07 22:54 
GeneralRe: This app doesn't show CPU usage Pin
tkatchserg20-Feb-08 9:25
membertkatchserg20-Feb-08 9:25 
AnswerRe: This app doesn't show CPU usage Pin
mmorenoba28-Dec-08 9:52
membermmorenoba28-Dec-08 9:52 
QuestionRe: This app doesn't show CPU usage Pin
Member 21502159-Feb-09 17:00
memberMember 21502159-Feb-09 17:00 

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