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A security task manager is a computer program which provides a list of the running applications and processes on a computer. This allows the end-user to see a compilation of the information stored in the computer's memory, providing troubleshooting insight in addition to allowing for a high level of performance optimization. Excessive memory consumption, caused by running too many applications concurrently, is one of the biggest causes for computer lag; running a security task manager is a step towards being able to clean the computer of unnecessary running utilities.
When most programs are installed, they leave a footprint in the operating system that tells the computer to activate a portion of the program's files at system startup. While individual programs running in this manner generally pose no threat to the system, in the aggregate, years of installation can result in the computer attempting to load a dozen or more programs at startup, consuming much of the system's available memory even before the computer starts. When an older computer begins acting sluggishly, it is not because the computer's hardware has mysteriously slowed down over time. It is most often because the number of programs loading at system startup has reached a critical mass, exceeding the computer's memory.
Running Security Task Manager provides an on-screen list of the programs running on the system, along with descriptions of what the programs do. This provides the end-user with "behind the scenes" information, allowing them to judge which programs are needed and which are not. Through the security task manager, the end-user can then terminate the unnecessary application. This frees up system memory, restoring the computer to its original performance levels.
In addition to facilitating enhanced performance, security task managers provide a potential method for identifying spyware, adware, and viruses on computers. When viewing the list of running processes, any process which the end-user does not remember installing on the computer could be a potential threat to the system, as it was likely installed by a malicious program online or by a hacker. A security task manager can be used to shut down these programs, keeping the computer secure.