Resource Monitor is an highly useful tool built-in to Windows to monitor the various resource (CPU, Disk) usage of PC. It’s overshadowed by another similar and commonly known tool, Task Manager although some of its features are superior to the latter.

Handbrake, pause, resmon

Here’s how you can pause/resume a running task in Windows –

  1. Open up Resource Monitor. You can search for it in the Start or call it by its pet name resmon through Run command (Windows+R) tool. 
  2. Now in the Overview or CPU tab, look for process you want to Pause in the list of running Processes. Image name may be different than the application name. To easily locate your application, look the Description column which will have the application name
  3. Once the process is located, right click on it and select Suspend Process and confirm the Suspension in the next dialog.

Now you have successfully suspended the process or in other words, paused it. It will remain in that state until you Resume it by Right click > Resume process. A process in paused state won’t run and will not use CPU. However, it does consume the same amount of memory as it was at the time of suspension. Paused application will be freezed and you can’t click or do anything with it until you resume it. This works for all applications.Note that this paused state is dynamic. It won’t be retained if the PC is shutdown. As an alternate, you can hibernate the PC in which case, everything will stay as it is.

This trick proves very useful for CPU intensive tasks like video encoding or any other applications which do not come with a Pause option. And before I forget, do not try this trick with any of the Windows processes which can potentially mess up your system.

Epilogue:

The other day, I was encoding a video in HandBrake. Fast-forward an hour, the CPU was so close to becoming nothing more than a roasted chip and there was nothing(almost) I could do about it other than changing the encoding priority (which didn’t help much). And Handbrake doesn’t have a pause button (so much for the popularity). The Stop button looked as if it was mocking at me because pressing it would mean all my hours of effort would go down the drain(if you ever encoded a video, you know what I’m talking about).I was pondering about a quick solution and there came the mighty Resource Monitor to rescue.

Update: HandBrake now finally has a Pause/Resume button(starting from version 1.0.0). If you don’t see it, update HandBrake to the latest version. You can stiil use the trick below though –

If you want to pause encoding task on Handbrake, suspend the process named HandbrakeCLI.exe, NOT Handbrake.exe. You can then see the the progress bar stuck at the same level in HandBrake’s main window which will confirm your action. To resume encoding, just Resume the same process suspended earlier.

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