Open the Task Manager (just press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC), and you will realize there is a number in the parentheses next to some processes.
You will probably find a number next to your browser, as I did next to Google Chrome. And it is not only browsers; you will also find numbers next to other processes such as Cortana or Excel.
It means the number of components used by a particular app. In other words, it means the total number of processes an app runs since it may run multiple processes, such as Chrome.
Let’s take a look in Google Chrome on Task Manager:
This means that there are 20 processes simultaneously running in Google Chrome. But why is this number so big?
It is impossible to know without knowing exactly what each one of these processes does.
Next, we will see how we can check that.
What does the number next to Google Chrome mean on Task Manager?
We can usually know what processes a particular app is running by clicking on the arrow next to it in the Task Manager. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for Chrome.
A click to expand Google Chrome in the task manager will only show repeated processes labeled as “Google Chrome,” as you can see below:
So, what are all these processes running under Chrome?
The number next to Chrome is the total of components currently running in Chrome; this includes the open tabs, browser extensions, and processes running on Chrome.
You can find this information using Chrome’s (or any Chromium browser like Edge or Brave) own task manager. Only there will you have detailed information on these components.
How to Check Which Components are Running Next to Chrome
To access Chrome (or your Chromium browser’s) task manager:
- Click on the three dots button in the upper right corner of your browser to expand the menu.
- Find More tools, and then click on Task manager:
(You can also open the task manager with the shortcut SHIFT + ESC on Chrome.)
- Now you can see each component running on your browser:
A quick look will show why the number next to Chrome on the task manager is usually big. Every browser extension and tab counts as a unique process.
This is why Google Chrome uses so much memory in the first place.
But changing Google Chrome for a lightweight browser won’t reduce the RAM usage since this is common to all modern browsers.,
To end the components that are consuming too much memory in your browser right now, select them in the Chrome task manager and then click on the End process button.
You can directly close the tabs and disable the extensions you don’t need.
How do I Know Which Processes to End in Task Manager?
Ending processes in Windows task manager can help you free up memory sometimes, but knowing what you can end and what you cannot is essential.
Killing the wrong processes might make your Windows freeze or crash instantaneously.
To check which processes are running on your PC, open the Task Manager by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC and check the Processes tab. You will realize there are three main categories in the Processes tab; these are Apps, Background processes, and Windows processes:
The table below explains what they are and if you can end their processes:
|Name in Processes Tab||What Shows Here||Is It Safe to End It?|
|Apps||It shows which programs are open right now on your PC. These are the programs shown on your taskbar.||You can safely end any of these in the task manager without risk.|
|Background Processes||It shows the programs running in the Windows background.||You can end any processes related to third-party programs running in the background (for example, a download manager), but some vital processes here should not be ended.|
|Windows Processes||It shows the processes run by Windows to keep your PC functioning properly.||Do NOT attempt to end any process under Windows Processes, or you will likely experience a freeze or crash.|
So, you can either end processes under Apps or Background processes on the processes tab in Task Manager, but do not end any process under Windows Processes unless you are an expert user.
If you are unsure whether you can end or not a specific background process, try to search for it in Google first to make sure it is safe to do so.
A safer way to free RAM and reduce useless Background processes is to stop programs from running in Windows startup; this will naturally reduce the number of background processes in the task manager processes tab.
(If your startup items are missing from the Task Manager, check my article on how to fix “There Are No Startup Items to Display” in Task Manager.)
Does a High Component Number on Task Manager Slow Down Your Laptop?
Since components are processes run by a particular app, and every process requires memory, a high component number on the task manager means that your laptop will use more RAM. This will make your computer slower only if your PC doesn’t have enough RAM to run these processes.
How to End a process in Task Manager
To end a process in Task Manager, open the Task Manager by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC; select the process you want to end and click on the End task button next to Run new task.
You also right-click the process you want to terminate and select End task.
It is impossible to select or kill multiple processes in the Task Manager.
But you can do this by installing a free tool called Ultimate Process Killer, which can end almost any process in Windows. However, I don’t recommend you use this tool unless you are an experienced user.
(To better understand and use task manager, check this article on all the task manager keyboard controls you should know.)
How to kill a process in Task Manager that says Access Denied
Sometimes when trying to end a process, you might encounter the message “Unable to terminate process – Access is denied.”
This means that your account lacks the right to end this process.
To end this process, you may need to log on to Windows with an administrator account; if this does not work, try to restart Windows and see if the problem still occurs.
You can use the command taskkill in the command prompt as a last resort.
- Enter Command Prompt in Windows Search, then click on Run as administrator:
- Now type the following command (replace “process-name” with the name of the process you want to kill) in the Command Prompt:
taskkill /im process-name /f
If you don’t know the name of the process you want to end, open the Task Manager, and under the Processes tab, right-click on the process you want to end, then click on Go to Details.
For a more detailed explanation of this process, read how to force close a process using the command prompt.
The number in parentheses next to a process in task manager shows how many components this particular process is running, and you can check these components by expanding it.
However, this doesn’t work with Google Chrome, as it shows all components with a repeated name. In this case, you will need to use Chrome’s task manager.
You shouldn’t worry about these numbers unless the memory usage is too high. You may want to end some of these processes or components in this case. But remember not to end any process under Windows processes.
To know more about the Task Manager, read this article on what to do when the PID is not showing on Task Manager but exists in netstat, or this one to know how to fix Task Manager paused (not updating in real-time.)