A number of years ago, Microsoft purchased an excellent body of tools called Sysinternals. They're now (officially) called Windows Sysinternals.
Every once in a while, I am reminded just how useful these tools are - today, it was Process Explorer. My system was running dog-slow, and I wasn't really sure why. I tried using Task Manager, but I didn't really understand what I was seeing. There as an instance of setup.exe that was taking up CPU time, but I hadn't launched any installs.
So I grabbed Process Explorer (I keep it on a USB stick) and fired it up, and I saw immediately (because of how the processes were linked on-screen) that Windows Update was upgrading SQL Server Express. I still had a slow system, but now I knew why.
If these tools aren't already on your go-to list, you owe it to yourself to check them out and keep them with you at all times. You'll be glad you did.
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