Save Running Processes To a File in Windows 10

When you start an app, the operating system creates a process for the executable file of the app. It contains the program code and its current activity. Windows assigns a special number known as Process Identifier (PID) which is unique for every process. If you want to check which apps you have running at a given moment, you can save the list of running processes to a file.


Saving running process to a file is not a problem when you are using some third-party process manager. For example, the well-known process manager from Sysinternals, Process Explorer, allows exporting the list of running apps.

Out of the box, Windows 10 offers a few tools to manage processes. The only GUI tool is Task Manager, which comes with many handy options. You can use it to check which apps are active at a moment of time:

Task Manager Tab Details

You can copy details for a selected process or service quickly. See:

How to copy process details from the Task manager in Windows 10

However, this doesn't work when you need to copy details for several or all processes at once. Task Manager doesn't allow selecting more than one row in the grid.

To bypass this limitation, we can use tasklist, a console app that prints the list of running processes to a command prompt window. Note: Some processes are running as Administrator (elevated). I suggest you to open an elevated command prompt instance to run the tasklist app.

To save running processes to file in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open a new command prompt as Administrator.
  2. Type the following command to save the list of running processes to the file:
    tasklist > "%userprofile%\Desktop\running.txt"

    Change the file name and its path according to your preferences.Windows 10 Export Processes To File

  3. By following the example above, you will get a text file named "running.txt" in the Desktop folder. It will contain the list of currently running processes. Open it with your text editor app, e.g. Notepad.Windows 10 Exported Processes

Tip: Tasklist allows applying filters to its output. The following command will show processes only for Session 0:

tasklist /fi "Session eq 0"

Run tasklist with the option /? (tasklist /?) to see the available options.

Alternatively, you can use PowerShell. It comes with a special cmdlet  Get-Process.

Save running processes to a file with PowerShell

  1. Open PowerShell. If required, run it as Administrator.
  2. Type the command Get-Process to see the list of running processes.Windows 10 PowerShell Get Process
  3. To save it to a file, run the command:
    Get-Process | Out-File -filepath "$Env:userprofile\Desktop\running.txt"
  4. This will create a new text file "running.txt" in your Desktop folder.Windows 10 Export Processes To File PowerShell

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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