(1) To manipulate data in the computer. The computer is said to be processing no matter what action it is taking upon the data; whether the data are actually being updated in a database or just being displayed on screen.|
In order to evaluate a computer system's performance, the time it takes to process data internally is often analyzed separately from the time it takes to get it in and out of the computer. The I/O (input/output) is usually more time consuming than the processing. For an explanation of how the computer processes data, see "Processing" under the term computer. See also process technology.
(2) Software that is running in the computer. A process is the cross-product of code, user, time and processor: the unique execution of a particular piece of code by a particular user at a particular time on a particular processor.
If two instances of the same program are launched, at least two processes will run in the computer. When a computer is booted, numerous processes are started. Some are parts of the operating system, while others are applications that have been designated to run at startup. In a Windows computer, pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del launches the Task Manager, which displays all running processes. See Windows processes.