Software & AppsOperating System

What Does “PID” Stand for in Computers?

What Does Pid Stand For In Computers

Computers are complex pieces of gadgets prominent in the contemporary society we live in. They can perform multiple processes and services in less than a millisecond. It is worth noting that computers use PID to differentiate one process from another. Hence, the question is, what does PID stand for in computers? 

Quick Answer

The PID (process identifier) is a series of unique decimal numbers given to each process or service. This number is assigned to processes and services in several ways, such as specifying a process when attaching a debugger.  

PID is a term used in most operating systems, including macOS, Windows, and UNIX. The number can be used as a parameter in many functions, allowing different processes to be manipulated, such as killing or prioritizing one, etc. But to be able to do anything with the PID, it is mandatory to first find the PID of the task.

This article elaborates on the different ways to find the PID on different OS. 

How To Find the PID on Different OS

Whether using a Windows or macOS device, you can find the PID of processes or services on your PC. So, if you want to change a program or service on your PC, you can use the PID of processes or services. Below we elaborate on how to find the PID on Windows and macOS. 

Method #1: Using the Task Manager on Windows 

On a Windows PC there are several ways to find the PID of your computer on a Windows PC. While most users don’t worry about their system processes, knowing how to find the PID number can come in handy in different scenarios. For example, you might need to debug an application, or an application may get stuck, and you might need to terminate it manually with the PID. 

If you need to find the PID of your Windows PC, there are different ways to determine the PID. You can use Task Manager, Resource Monitor, Command Prompt, and PowerShell. But out of the numerous ways to find the PID of your Windows PC, using Task Manager is the easiest. 

Here’s how to find the PID on a Windows PC using Task Manager.

  1. Turn on your Windows PC, ton the Start icon at the bottom left corner of your screen, and search for Task Manager
  2. Alternatively, you can right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager” from the option. 
  3. Tap on the “Details” tab in the Task Manager window. 
  4. Find the process ID of any program or service in the “PID” column. 

Method #2: Using the Activity Monitor on macOS 

If you are using a macOS PC, you can also find the PID of programs and services in the Activity Monitor. The Activity Monitor on a macOS PC is like the Task manager for Windows PCs, which monitors computer activity such as running programs and services, active processes, processor load, etc. In the Activity Monitor, you can identify sluggish programs or services, get their PID and tweak it as you see fit. 

Here’s how to find the PID on a macOS PC.

  1. Open the “Application” folder on your macOS PC. 
  2. In the “Application” folder, tap on the “Utility” folder and double-click on the “Activity Monitor” option. 
  3. In the Activity Monitor program, find the process ID of the program or service in the “PID” column.  
Quick Note

If you use a UNIX PC, finding the process ID is a bit more complex as it requires you to type in some codes. These include codes like the “pgrep command” to search for a running system or the “pidof command”.


The PID number of any program or service is unique during its lifetime. It might seem like a piece of information you might never need until you need it. However, knowing how to find and utilize the process ID of a program or service can come in handy at odd times. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is the process ID of the process and services always the same? 

A computer assigns a process ID to a program only for the program’s lifetime or service. As soon as the program is terminated, the process ID is deleted. So, if you were to rerun the program or service, your computer would assign a new process ID to the program or service. 

If you want to make any changes to a program or service using its PID, it helps to use the current PID number of the program while it is running. 

What is a packet identified? 

A packet identifier is also known as a PID. Unlike the process identifier, the packet identifier is a 13-bit code used to identify different audio and video content streams in a MPEG stream. In other words, a packet identifier synchronizes audio and video packets. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *