Let me explain a bit about what the Task Manager is all about and why you need to be careful with it. First, you can't remove any executables (.exe's) with the Task Manager, you can just stop them from running.
The Task Manager's main function is to show you what is running on your computer and to allow you to stop it from running. What is running is called a process. If you have a program that locks up or freezes, it is better to press the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination and stop the process in Task Manager than turning the power off to the computer. This is safe and easy to do under the Applications tab of Task Manager. Those are processes that you have started yourself and you should have a button on the Task Bar that corresponds to each application.
Under the processes tab are all running processes. There are three kinds of proceses differentiated by how they get started. Applications:
Just covered, these are programs that you start yourself. Startups:
These are programs and processes that start when Windows starts--when you turn on your computer or log in to your user account. Most of these will appear as icons in your System Tray--there by your clock on the Task Bar--but not all. To see most of the applications that are set for Startup, use the Miscrosoft System Configuration Utility. Go to START>Run and type in msconfig
. You can manage what starts from this utility's Startups tab, but even it will not account for all Startups. If you want to look into a more technical explanation and why startups are a concern from a security standpoint, see BC's tutorial Windows Program Automatic Startup Locations
Mike probably meant that you have too many startups. For a more comprehensive explaination and how to's on managing startups, see this page by Paul Collins
These are processes that Windows keeps running in case you need them, such as a printer spooler so your printer will work. Msoft allows a bunch of services to run tho that you'll never need and some are security risks. They are a bit more complicated to manage and understand, but that is what the Black Viper site that tg911 linked you to is all about. Some of the sevices' executables will appear in Task Manager and others are combined into svchost.exe and other processes.
Hope that helps, and by all means submit a HJT log if you suspect you have malware of some type. We will be happy to take a look at it and help you get rid of obviously bad processes in the right way. And there could well be something bad in there that you don't even know about. Those that you don't need or want you should really decide for yourself and Google is actually a good way to get information on that.
Always feel free to ask questions here too.
If you want you can check out Startup Inspectors for Windows
--it will look up information on common startups for you. But read Paul Collins' article first.