After three years without a major update we thought AnVir Task Manager Free was dead, but no: the developer released a beta 8.0 version late last month.
What’s new? Unfortunately AnVir forgot to tell us, but we grabbed a copy anyway for a closer look.
The program offers the core basics you’d expect from a task manager alternative.
Running applications, processes and services are listed across several tabs. You’re able to view more details about each process – loaded DLLs, files open, network connections used and more – and right-clicking gives options to set the process priority or affinity, close it down, search for the name on the web, and more.
Windows experts familiar with Process Explorer or Process Hacker will be disappointed by the lack of low-level features. You can’t inspect threads, browse memory blocks or search them for strings, for example.
What you do get are an array of window management functions, including options to send selected windows to the system tray, set their transparency, make them “always on top”, and more.
These can be made optionally available from individual application windows, too. We right-clicked Notepad’s title bar, set and saved its transparency, and this was preserved when we closed and restarted the program.
The “Log” tab is another plus, as it records interesting events like processes launched and closed, and windows created. Again, experts won’t be amazed – Process Monitor is several hundred times more powerful – but it’s still a useful feature which you won’t find in most of the competition.
The “Startup” tab is the other main feature, listing your Windows startup programs and allowing them to be delayed, disabled or deleted. There’s also an unusual option to launch the program as an icon in your system tray.
AnVir Task Manager Free can’t compete with Process Explorer or Process Hacker’s level of detail. You can’t drill down to thread stacks here, inspect security tokens, or check out the process environment block, amongst other things.
But the program does offer plenty of extras you won’t always find in the rest of the competition, particularly its window management tools, and if you’re interested in this type of application then it’s worth a look.
AnVir Task Manager Free is a free-for-personal-use application for Windows XP or later.