Do you sometimes have a program that seems to just hang and would like to get past it more easily? Does your system not work right at times and you want to get it back to operating more smoothly again? Would you like to know what is going on when your computer resources seem stressed out? With Task Manager you can do all of this and more. We are going to take a look at what Task Manager is, how to get to it, how to navigate it, and some cool things that you can do with it. Let’s get started.
What is Task Manager?
Task Manager is actually a very useful multi purpose utility built into Windows. As it’s name suggests it allows you to view and manage the tasks going on in your system. It also allows you to monitor your Windows performance, manage startup items, manage services, and more. It is a very easy to use program that packs a lot of power.
How to Get to Task Manager
Here are seven ways to open Task Manager:
- Press Control + Alt + Delete. Click Task Manager.
- Press Control + Shift + Escape.
- Press Windows + X. Click Task Manager.
- Right click the Taskbar then click Task Manager.
- Click Start. Type Task Manager. Hit Enter.
- Press Windows + R. Type in “taskmgr” (without the quotes). Hit Enter.
- Open File Explorer. Navigate to C:WindowsSystem32. Open Taskmgr.exe.
Now that we know what Task Manager is and how to get to it let’s take a look around.
Getting Around in Task Manager
The first thing we are going to do is make sure that we can see all of our information. Make sure to click “More Detail” at the bottom of the window if it doesn’t look similar to the image below.
If you select the Processes tab you will see a dynamic list of your running processes. Just above the process list you find categories.
Keep in mind that you can customize the categories that appear here. All you have to do is right click on one of the categories and make your choices. Your options are:
- Type – What type of process is it?
- Status – If a process appears to have stopped responding it will show that here.
- Publisher – Who is the process from?
- PID – PID stands for Process Identifier number. Windows assigns a unique ID number each time a program starts. The PID is basically a way to distinguish between running processes.
- Process Name – The file name of the process.
- Command Line – The path to get to the process via command line.
- CPU – Impact of the process on the CPU.
- Memory – Impact on the process on RAM.
- Disk – Impact of the process on the disk.
- Network – Impact of the process on the network.
- GPU – GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. This category will show the impact of the process on your GPU.
- GPU Engine – Shows which GPU the process is using.
- Power Usage – Shows the power impact of the process.
- Power Usage Trend – Shows the power impact of the process over time.
If you right click on a process you are given several options.
- End Task – Can be useful if the process needs to be stopped and can’t be ended normally.
- Provide Feedback – To provide feedback to Microsoft.
- Resource Values – To customize how resource values are displayed.
- Create Dump File – Creates a dump file. This can be helpful when diagnosing problems.
- Go to Details – Get a more detailed view.
- Open File Location – Opens the directory of the file that the process belongs to.
- Search Online – Runs a search on Bing so you can find more information about the process. This can be handy if you see any suspicious looking processes.
- Properties – To go to the properties of a process.
If you select the Performance tab you will see a graph and several numbers. You are looking at real time information on your system resources. You can see detailed information on your CPU, Memory, Disk, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and GPU.
To dive into the details click the item you are interested in. Here is an example of my memory.
In the memory section we see a graph of my memory usage and some detailed information below. It even shows how many RAM slots are filled. Explore the sections in the Performance tab to find many more useful details about your resources.
App History only gives information about Universal Windows Platform apps and not traditional Windows apps. This is one of the less useful feature for most users. You can explore this section for more detailed information about the apps that it does apply to.
This is one of the most useful tabs in Task Manager. It shows the programs that start everytime you turn on your computer. Having too many programs set to start everytime you boot up Windows can be a huge slowdown. I always set mine to startup as few programs as possible. Here is what mine looks like.
My advice is to disable everything from auto starting that you don’t absolutely need when you boot Windows. If you aren’t sure what a program is right click on it and click “Search Online”.
The information here will show a list of logged in users and the resources they are using. Note that if you right click on a user you are given a few options:
- Expand – To see the processes they have running. If you right click on any of the processes you can end, search, or any of the other options that you had on the Processes tab.
- Connect – Switch to a user’s account.
- Sign Off – Signs the user out.
- Send Message – Sends a message to the user’s account.
- Manage User Accounts – Takes you to user account settings in the Settings app.
This is basically a more detailed view of your processes. Also, it shows the processes of all user accounts. This tab can be handy if there is a process that hangs. With this view you can end an individual process without having to close the whole program.
Services run in the background and perform a task in the system. Some services are necessary for things in your system to work right. Others you don’t really need running. If you right click on a service you have the option to start, stop, restart, open, search online to learn more about the service, or go to it’s details. If you right click on a service and go to Open your Services app will open up so you can change the settings of your services. Make sure you know what you are doing before you tweak these settings because some services are necessary for Windows and your apps to work properly.
4 Task Manager Tips and Tricks
Here are some useful tips to try when working with Task Manager. Try them out and let me know how it goes.
Use Analyze Wait Chain to figure out what is causing an application to hang.
- If an application hangs go to the Details tab of Task Manager.
- Find the app that isn’t responding.
- Right click on it.
- Click “Analyze Wait Chain”, and see if it shows a reason for a program not responding.
This is useful if a program stops responding.
Restart Windows Explorer.
- Open Task Manager.
- Find Windows Explorer
- Right click it.
- Click “Restart”.
This is useful if things in your system start acting up. A lot of times if you are experiencing problems restarting your PC will make things work smoothly again. Sometimes such a drastic step may not be necessary. Try just restarting Explorer and see if that helps to set things right again.
Do an online search for suspicious processes.
Right click on a process you aren’t sure about and click “Search Online”. This is useful if you see a process that you are concerned might be malware.
Go directly to a file’s location.
Right click on a process and click “Go to File Location.” Give this a try if you need to head over to a processes directory. This is quicker than navigating there in File Explorer.
- Task Manager is an easy to use and powerful utility built right into Windows.
- You can use Task Manager to end hung processes when a program stops responding.
- You can use Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer when things in your system don’t seeem to be working right.
- You can use Task Manager to do online searches to find information about suspicious processes.
- From Task Manager you can open a processes directory. This can be helpful if you need to quickly go from Task Manager to the processes directory to work directly with files to change configuration settings or whatever else it is that you need to do.
- With Task Manager you can get a detailed view of what is going on with your resources.
Windows Task Manager gives you a simple, detailed, and useful interface to manage the processes in your system and see what is going on with your resources. I believe you will find it a big help in managing your processes and resources.
Until next time have the best day and tech on.