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In a program that shows process tree layouts, like Process Explorer, I see that some programs are "floating", apparently not tied to any tree. How is this possible?

Most of the processes are tree'd beneath Windows' explorer.exe, which makes sense. But there are a handful of non-system/user processes that are just "floating" free, apparently not tied to or a part of any trees.

Why are some processes in trees, while others are not, and what does this equivalently mean?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You are looking at the parental, child, grandchildren processes calls.

If you start an application, and it calls a process then you will see:

  • Parent
    • Child
    • Other Child
      • GrandChild

Now, if parent is killed, or stops for what ever reason there will no longer be a parent and the child will then be without a tree, other child will still be there, and run with a sub process of the grand child.

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Thanks. But what's the purpose of this relationship? What bearing does it have anything? – Coldblackice Apr 15 '13 at 23:48
Out of context, none. But if you had an unfamiliar process running it might be helpful to know that Firefox had called it when the parent is present. Or vice-versa it might be relevant to know that killing a package might kill a current install that is running or prevent finishing scripts if you killed the parent. – AthomSfere Apr 16 '13 at 3:02

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