What Is That File?

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 13, 2006
Updated • May 2, 2013

When I look through the process listing in the system's task manager I sometimes see filenames that I don't know anything about. What is that file may provide you with information about files that you cannot identify by yourself. It's solely based on user submissions, just like Wikipedia for instance. Just enter a filename and the following information will be displayed: Name, purpose, description and if its safe or a malicious one. Great if you are not sure why a file is running on your system.

Similar sites that can help you in this regard are Process Library.com and Neuber. I recommend the following procedure to every user of the Windows operating system: fire up your task manager and browse the processes listed here. If you do not know about a process, use one of the applications or services mentioned above to check it out to make sure it is not a malicious process. You may also find out if it needs to run all the time, or if you can configure its host program to block the process from starting automatically.

Update: The original What Is That File website is no longer available on the Internet. The other two sites are however still accessible,so use them to check out file names that you cannot identify on your own.

We have covered some of the more popular processes here on Ghacks as well, for instance atiedxx.exe, plugin-container.exe or googleupdate.exe which many users might see running when looking through the process listing in the Windows Task Manager.

If you do not want to check the processes manually, you can use a program like System Explorer instead. The task manager alternative not only provides you with in-depth information about the processes running on your system, but also with research options that let you find out more about a specific process running on your system.

The main advantage here is that you can check the processes right from within the program, without having to go to a website, enter the process name,to check up on it.


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