They all look the same to me: SAS.EXEs are everywhere


If you deploy the SAS 9 environment on Windows, you may have multiple SAS processes running on a single box (metadata process, OLAP server, multiple workspace servers). Windows Task Manager doesn't provide a great way to distinguish one sas.exe process from another, but Process Explorer does.

Process Explorer lets you view a list of all processes and their attributes, including distinguishing features such as command line, performance attributes, network connections, time started, and lots more. You can even register it as a Task Manager replacement (which I do on all of my machines).

As an example, take a look at what I'm running on one of my SAS server machines:

SAS processes in Process Explorer

By examining the command line field, I can tell which SAS process is my metadata server, which is my OLAP server, and which are SAS workspaces (spawned by folks using client applications such as SAS Enterprise Guide). In fact, some of my workspaces are running in Korean and Japanese, and I can see that by looking at the -config option specified for each. I can also look at the User Name field and determine which users are connected to SAS sessions at the moment.

With this tool you can also view the DLLs and file handles used by each open process -- truly valuable when you need to make sure that the version of a module in use is loaded from the expected location (essential knowledge for us Windows developers).

All of the Sysinternals tools are available here.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies


  1. Great addition Chris. Some time back I found the support note that suggested stopping the various servers, copying the SAS.EXEs to new names and restarting so you could see which of N SAS executables was doing what.

    Sadly it still hasn't helped me resolve the occasional appearance of a SAS exe which draws up to 100% CPU and has to be killed of the task manager.

    Good advice, I think this might give me a running start for finding the errant task.

    Kind regards


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