Daphne: manage Windows processes visually by dragging and dropping

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Daphne is a windows process manager that provides a number of interesting functions, such as the ability to shut down, find, or hide an app or process by dragging and dropping a tool onto open windows with the mouse.

Other functions include the ability to set “traps” where processes invoke user determined actions, killing processes by name, etc, in addition to a number of the usual functions that you would expect to find in a program of this type.

This is another process manager that does some cool stuff. It offers many of the standard functions that you would expect from most process managers, but what makes it interesting is a visual interface whereby you could point to elements on the screen with the mouse in order to, for example, kill the process behind them, find the underlying process, or quickly access (and optionally change) the properties and values of windows and controls.

What I will do for this review, as I did when reviewing “System Explorer“, is attempt to convey a sense of this program by listing my top 5 favorite things you can do with it:

1- Killing a process with the mouse: all you need to do is set Daphne to “kill process”, then grab the crosshairs and drop them on the window. This will end the process instantly, and avoid the need to hunt for the name of the associated process in a list and/or going through multiple steps to get it shut down. (Note: you can also do this with Revo Uninstaller; see this posting).

2- Visually finding a process: if you’ve ever faced a situation where you are unable to determine the process underlying an app or a window you’ll appreciate this one; simply drag the “find” crosshairs onto the window to identify its process. I sometimes need this when I am trying to figure out how much memory an app is consuming but find the process hard to locate because it’s named differently.

3- Creating traps for a process: this means that Daphne will automatically take a pre-specified course of action once it encounters a process that you pre-specify or a window that has a certain title. Once it detects this, you can tell Daphne to automatically kill the process, hide it (so it’s not visible), set the process to a priority level that you want, set the window to a certain transparency level, and set it to be always on top (or not).

4- Hiding and unhiding applications: again, what is nice about this is the ability to hide a window or app by dragging the “hide process” crosshairs onto the window or app. The hidden process can be retrieved from the Daphne’s system tray icon.

5- Listing processes, path and arguments: I never could quite figure out why Windows’ own task manager did not include the path to the process. Thankfully, with Daphne this piece of information is featured prominently, as are the arguments used for each process. What’s more can copy the path, the path+arguments, or the PID to the clipboard easily through the right click menu. Other info: current memory usage, peak memory usage, current swap usage, peak swap usage, and number of threads.

Other Daphne features:

  • Resides in the system tray: many functions can be accessed from the system tray, though not the more interesting ones, in my opinion.
  • Kill by name: very handy when you know exactly the process you want to kill; simply enter its name and shut it down, no need to find it in a list.
  • Two ways to kill a process: you can kill a process, or kill it “politely”. All I know about these is that the first uses the TerminateProcess() system call, while the polite option employs a WM_CLOSE message. Not sure what the difference is in practical terms.
  • Daphne Screenshot; process infoDetails for each process: including a windows tree, associated threads list, modules, and environment.
  • Manipulate the visual style for any window/process: gives you control over a window’s transparency and the ability to toggle “always on top” on and off.
  • Control inspector: drag the magnifying glass over windows and controls to display their properties and values, including hidden passwords, if any.
  • DRK Database: right click on a process and you have the option to search (or otherwise submit) the process to the DRK Database, a knowledge resource for processes. The database will likely not identify most processes but you will be able to identify well known Windows processes as such if in doubt.
  • Portable version: available that stores info in an .INI file rather than the registry.
  • Other functions: show installed software (and access add/remove from the list), show process tree, etc.

Wish list: mostly minor issues here, but here they are anyway

  • To be able to access all the crosshairs functions from the system tray, so that the system tray acts more or less as a 1:1 mirror to the functions currently available in the main interface.
  • To be able to export the list of installed software as a TXT file and/or be able to copy it to the clipboard.
  • Some of the context menu commands in the process details screen (with threads/modules/environment) did not seem to work on my machine. So I’ll add addressing this (possible) issue to the wish list.

The verdict: a nice tool to have overall. What is really unique about Daphne is the drag and drop interface that enables you to perform functions visually using the mouse, which is in many ways a very nice way of going about things. The program seems like it could be streamlined a little bit and its range of functions expanded. If you already use a powerful process manager that you like you might not be so inclined to use this, but my guess is that many users will find Daphne very useful.

[Thanks go to Brockman for writing to let me know about this program].

Version Tested: 1.3.3

Compatibility: Windows 2000, 2003, XP; no info on Vista.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 1.12 megs).<