Difference between a process and a program?

Questions by pinky_princess88

Showing Answers 1 - 43 of 43 Answers


  • Nov 22nd, 2005

a process is a progam in execution

a program is a series of instructions to perform a particulat task


  • Nov 24th, 2005

   Process is a part of a program. Process is the part where logic of that particular program exsists.

                     Program is given as a set of process. In some cases we may divide a problem into number of parts. At these times we write a seperate logic for each part known as process.


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pragnya mishra

  • Jan 12th, 2006

process is program under execution ,process is an active entity

while a program is in form of programming language and program is a passive entity.

moreover,a program is stored in secondary storage but process is stored in memory


  • Jan 24th, 2006

process:part of program is process

program:program is set of process

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  • Feb 6th, 2006

process is program under execution

program is set of instructions


  • Feb 10th, 2006

Please do not confuse process with program. Program is only a set of instructions and process is a program in memory. Thread is a basic unit of execution within a process. This means program is something which is not loaded in memory yet. And Process is loaded in memory but not a complete execution unit. We say only a thread is under execution. I would request some of my friends, please refer somewhere thoroughly before sending misleading answers. 

Program is nothing but the set of all the instruction which requires to carry out some specific job.Before come into execution they must be convert in binary codes which should be understood by loader os OS.Generally in Windows it like EXE file which is stored in Portable Executable (PE) Format on Secondary Memory Like hard disk.

A process is usually defined as an instance of a running Program and consists of two components:

1) A kernel object that the operating system uses to manage the process. The kernel object is also where the system keeps statistical information about the process.

2) An address space that contains all the executable or DLL module's code and data. It also contains dynamic memory allocations such as thread stacks and heap allocations.

Processes are inert. For a process to accomplish anything, it must have a thread that runs in its context; this thread is responsible for executing the code contained in the process's address space. In fact, a single process might contain several threads, all of them executing code "simultaneously" in the process's address space. To do this, each thread has its own set of CPU registers and its own stack. Each process has at least one thread that executes code in the process's address space. If there were no threads executing code in the process's address space, there would be no reason for the process to continue to exist, and the system would automatically destroy the process and its address space.

For detail u must learn Jeffery Richter articles http://www.JeffreyRichter.com).

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  • Apr 29th, 2006

program is an passive state and process is an active state.

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kartik prakash

  • May 18th, 2006

a process is a program in execution.it also includes the current activity,as represented by the value of program counter and the contents of the program counter.a process includes a process stack which contains the temporary data and a data section which contains the global variables.while a program is a sequence of instructions written in a manner to obtain the desired output.

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akhilesh tiwari

  • Jun 30th, 2006

process is a part of code which under execution

or in detail u can say that in main memory

whereas a program is a complete task or work to be done

process can be program but program is very rarel a process(if small)

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  • Mar 30th, 2007

process is the active state of an entity means the program on execution.where as program is the  passive state of an entity means the set of logics that are applied to perform a task.

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        Simply a passive entity stores the set of instructions to be executed in the file.


         An Active Entity which executes the set of instructions (i.e. program),and has many things associated  with that program to execute  like Program counter,regtister etc. 

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  • Jun 3rd, 2007

I partly disagree with above given answers., as they are nt totally related to the topic.
      Process is active state of program and it is status of given task mentioned in

program,  it gives the info to main memory about its state nd other details like what

part it has executed up-to that instance. It keeps track of the status of registers and

instances of the resources it hold and required resources, wa cost it incures on the

cpu after it is done with its work.
     Program is total information about what has to be done with  CPU and other

resources for which it is liable to complete the given task. In some cases it is

collection of different Thick weight process and Lite weight process( threads) as we

may require to run various modules of different programs in some single program. So
process is like platform on CPU for running different tasks of given program and part of the

main set of process.

For example while logging into yahoo messenger most of the times we get two instances of messenger executable file instances on applications tab in task manager.


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  • Aug 5th, 2007

Basically process is an active entity, it will have its own main memory area and other resources allocated to it and will be using cpu cycles and generally performs some operation.

whereas a program, being a passive entity can be considered as just a file containing set of instructions written in some programming language which occupies space generally in secondary storage. If it is not accessed or executed it does not require other system resources such as cpu cycles or main memory area.

the connection between these two is a program when executed becomes a process..

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process is program under execution.
Program is only a set of instructions and process is a program in memory. 
Thread is a basic unit of execution within a process. 
This means program is something which is not loaded in memory yet. And Process is loaded in memory but not a complete execution unit. 
We say only a thread is under execution.

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We all work on PC. Let us suppose I have create a program of displaying name on the screen and printing it on the paper, now when I execute this program.  The operating system spawns a process that will write the name on the screen and another process for printing it on the printer.  Because Our operating system is aware of the kind of hardware and monitor attached thus a process help in executing a program.

We can have system processes(e.g.svchost.exe) that executes system code nd user processes that execute user code, so differentiate the processes accordingly.

While running a program just press ctrl+alt+delete you will get to know the procsses running on your PC.   If 2 programs are using the same process then also we will have 2 instances.

E.g. If we have opened 2 google chrome window (e.g. One for geekinterview and another for indiatimes) then also when we press ctrl+alt+delete we will see 2 chrome.exe

Reason is, every process maintains information like current activity represented by program counter, data section (for temporay variables and some more info) and text section (for global variabled and some more info) so for these 2 google chrome window the data section would be different.

I hope this knowledge would help you,
Thanks and keep helping people.

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  • Feb 21st, 2010

A program is actually only part of a process. A program is merely an inactive entity in the form of some programming language. The process invoked by starting the program also includes a program counter, variable values, contents of processor registers, process stack etc. and is an active working unit in the system. This context of process is not to be confused with that of a method of a program, which would be a subroutine included in a program to perform a task. Also, you may have multiple processes running of the same program, say windows explorer. Each is the same program but different processes.

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Jana Rthan

  • Jan 3rd, 2011

Process is an active entity.
Process is a set of programs under execution and it resides in main memory.

Program is an passive entity.
Program is a set of instructions that resides in secondary memory.

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Vaibhav Raj

  • Apr 11th, 2011

A Program is a passive unit of a job in computing language. It is a set of instruction to perform a task. It is stored on secondary memory and does not have any other resource.

While a Process is an active unit of job in computing language. Similar to program it also has set of instructions to perform a job, but it is residing in the main memory. It has several resources allocated on the computer. A process has a Process Control Block (PCB), a Call-Stack for subroutines, a Data-Segment for global variables, Heap for dynamic memory allocation and deallocation and along with these data structures a process has access to CPU Registers, IO-Devices  and Program Counter.

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  • Oct 4th, 2011

1: process is a program at execution time.
2: a part of program i.e some set of instructions which are in main memory i.e. thread is process.
3: thread is the smallest unit of process.

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  • Jun 23rd, 2012

program is a static process while process is a dyanamic

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nidhi trivedi

  • Jun 25th, 2012

A programme is a set of instruction which is stored in secondry storage device.In order to execute a programme resources primary memory,processor,memory,Input/output devices are required when these resources are allocated to a programme it becomes a resource.

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  • Jun 30th, 2012

Process means program under execution.
Program means set of instructions that executes for particular task.

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sachin chaudhary

  • Sep 6th, 2012

A program is a set of instructions that are to perform a designated task, where as the process is an operation which takes the given instructions and perform the manipulations as per the code, called ‘execution of instructions’. A process is entirely dependent of a ‘program’.

- A process is a module that executes modules concurrently. They are separate loadable modules. Where as the program perform the tasks directly relating to an operation of a user like word processing, executing presentation software etc.

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  • Sep 17th, 2012

A Process can run only one program at a time but a single program can run many process at a time.

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Sahana P R

  • Nov 8th, 2012

program is a passive entity and process is an active entity...

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  • Feb 26th, 2013

1. Instruction execution in machine code
2. Active entity
3. Store in main memory

1. Instruction is only programming language
2. Passive entity
3. Store in secondary storage

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priyanka chavan

  • Nov 15th, 2013

process is dynamic entity.
program is static entity.program does not perform anything by itself.

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Simran Jeet Singh Bagga

  • Feb 16th, 2014

A Program or Computer Program essentially provides a sequence instructions (or algorithms if you rather) to the operating system or computer. These computer programs come in an executable form that the Operating System recognizes and can use to directly execute the instructions.
Once an executable has been executed a process begins. A process is simply an instance of a computer program. You can think of a process as the execution of the instructions contained in a computer program. When you view the Task Manager on a Windows computer you can see all of the current processes. Processes own resources such as virtual memory, operating system descriptions (handles, data sources, sinks etc), security attributes and various other elements required to process effectively.

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vivekanand saini

  • May 3rd, 2014

Difference b/w program and process is confusing, but crucial. In general, a process mean a program under execution.

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vishal dhiman

  • Dec 5th, 2014

process is active entity and programme is passive entity .when a programme start to execute and allocated to main memory than at that time the programme is called as process(that mean they performing some wok)common example is that suppose you have a book.A book is just a programme because it non-active but when you start reading the book it become process.

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  • Dec 10th, 2014

A program is a passive entity like the contents of a file stored on disk. Whereas a process is an active entity like the program is execution.

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  • Feb 25th, 2015

1.Process is Active Entity///Program is passive entity.
2.Program when execute then generate process.
3.Process are available on RAM//Program are available on Hard Disk.

The Best Example Of book..

suppose you have a book.A bike is just a program because it non-active but when you start drive the bike it become process.

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  • Feb 25th, 2015

A program is passive antity and process is an active antity

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Swati Sharma

  • Jun 24th, 2015

A program while running or executing is called a process.

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nayanita saha

  • Aug 18th, 2015

1. Program is a set of instruction and process is a program in execution
2. Program is passive entity and process is active entity

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Ashwini D M

  • May 13th, 2016

The new process and the process representing execution of program have a many to one relationship with the program. This is called concurrent program. processes that coexist in the system at some time are called concurrent processes. These concurrent processes may share their code, data and resources with other processes; they interact with one another during their execution.

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  • Jul 5th, 2016

Program is machine code combined with data as a executable image, which is passive. If program is actively in running then its called process.

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