When computers work well, things are pretty cool. Every component of your PC just….works.
But when you get one of those nasty little downloads – one of those little scripts or apps that dig its way deep down into the heart of your computer – it can be unnerving.
Suddenly, your keyboard doesn’t work quite right. Your CPU starts going haywire when you aren’t even doing anything. Your mouse starts flipping out every time you open a particular browser.
If you’ve ever been bothered with such a malware or virus software, then you know what I’m talking about. Those little apps sometimes latch themselves to the inner workings of your computer when you least expect it.
Luckily, there is a new tool you can use to manually go through and clean up those evil processes.
Close the Door on Malware
The bottom line is that any malware is typically meant to run in some form on your PC, and somehow transmit information into or out of your computer via the Internet.
A very simple utility called CloseTheDoor lets you probe into the processes that are running on your computer, and analyze those processes at a level that usually requires a professional. The reason you can do this is because CloseTheDoor makes the analysis very simple and logical, putting all of the tools you need in one place.
When you first run the program, it performs it’s basic function fast and well. You’ll see a list of every process “endpoint” that is listening on any port on your computer whatsoever. The detailed list tells you the interface IP (if there is one), the port, communication protocol, process ID, and any associated services.
While this all may not tell you exactly what the process is right away, the information is an important first step toward recognizing that something is running on your computer that you do not want running.
In particular, look for processes without any associated company or description information.
Once you spot a process that looks fishy, and you want to learn more, just click on the “Selection” menu and then click on “Locate the executable file”.
As you can see below, by tracing down the actual executable, you will often be able to identify the software that kicked off the process. For example, in this case Windows Explorer opened to the path for PaperCut NG, which was an educational software package that I was testing recently.
This discovery told me that there was a process running that I didn’t know about, consuming precious memory. Uninstalling the software removed that process, freed up the memory, and ultimately improved performance.
If you click on “File” and then the summary, you will see a general report with totals for how many endpoints are listening on each interface IP address. You don’t need to be quite as concerned with the IP addresses as you do with the total number of processes that are listening on some port on your PC
The software also gives you an entire toolbox of shortcuts and tools you can use to troubleshoot any problem processes that you simply can’t seem to recognize as valid. Sometimes, there may be a process running that isn’t malware, but you really don’t want it running all the time. That may be from a startup shortcut being added to your Startup folder without your knowledge. You can check out things like that using the System configuration utility under “Tools”.
Here you can view running services on your computer, and more importantly you can view and disable or enable all of the applications that are set up to auto-startup when you boot up your computer. This configuration utility puts all of the Windows config tools that can help you with process analysis all in one convenient window.
Another fast way to analyze an unknown process is by right clicking the service in the main display, and clicking on either “Process services” to view the services that are kicked off by this process, or you can use any of the Google or Wikipedia links in the list to research exactly what the process might be, and what that particular port is usually used for.
If you click to view the services, you’ll get a table of all running services that were kicked off by that process. You can select any of these services and stop them if you want. More importantly, some of the detailed names for those services may also offer some clues as the what the mysterious process is really all about.
To help you do some extensive research on the processes and services that you find running on your PC, CloseTheDoor offers a list of online resources under “Internet References”. Click on any of these to open up your browser and review resources like a list of port numbers and their uses at www.iana.org, a list of all Windows services at Wikimedia.org or how to configure your firewall at Microsoft.
The bottom line is that there will always bee some new malicious app out there that somehow – no matter what protections or blockades you put in place – gets onto your PC. When things start heading south with your PC activity and performance, researching your running processes is always a really good idea, and CloseTheDoor makes the process simple and painless.
Try out this utility and see if it helps you identify things running on your PC that you didn’t know about. Share your experiences with the software in the comments section below.
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