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Task Manager – How Does It Work?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help, Windows 8
 
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Lamar writes:

Many times you have referred to the Task Manager for troubleshooting various problems. Would you please give a good overview of just how to use the Task Manager? Thank you.

Sure Lamar! Task Manager is an awesome tool to use with Windows.

It’s very easy to find. Just press the following keys Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Task Manager.

If you are using a touchscreen Windows tablet, type Task Manager in the search charm and tap the icon for Task Manager.

In Windows 7 and Vista, Task Manager will pop up in a Window like this:

taskmanageroverview

If you click the Applications tab, you’ll see a list of programs currently running on your PC.

runningtasks

This is a great tool for when your computer slows to a crawl. It can help you identify if you’ve got multiple programs running and which ones might be locked up. In the image below, the user has multiple windows of Internet Explorer running. This is likely caused by impatiently clicking multiple times when something doesn’t open quickly enough or it could be caused by accidentally clicking on something that opens multiple add windows. In either case, you can easily close these programs by clicking on each instance and choosing End Task.

notresponding

If a program seems to be locked up and not responding, this is your escape route.

But there are also other uses for Task Manager.  Click the Processes tab and you can see everything running on your computer, including processes running the that background.  You’ll be able to see how much CPU they use and how much memory each process requires. This can also be a way to find out if something unwanted is running on your computer.

processes

 To end a process, highlight it and click End Process.

endprocess

Choosing Services will show you a list of services running on your PC.  Services are applications that run in the background and may not be easily accessible. Services include things like auto-updates for browsers and plug-ins and third-party security programs.

services

The Performance tab will let you check out the performance of your PC. You can monitor CPU Usage, Memory and their history.  Click Resource Monitor at the bottom and you’ll pull up more detailed information.

performance

Networking will monitor your wired and wireless connections.

networking

The Users tab shows you all of the users on the PC. Users can disconnect or Logoff from here.

users

 If you’re using Windows 8 or 8.1, the Task Manager will look a little bit different.

 win8taskmanager

Click on more details for more information.

taskmanagermoredetails

Here’s what the Processes tab looks like.

taskmanagerprocesses

 One difference that you’ll notice between 8.1 and 7 is the App History tab. This monitors the individual usage by each app and how many resources Live Tiles use for updating.

apphistory

Click the Startup tab and you can see all the programs that launch at startup and how they tax your resources. You can highlight a program and click Disable to stop it from launching at startup.

Startuptaskmanager8

Hope this information helps.

~ Cynthia

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8 Responses to “Task Manager – How Does It Work?”

  1. Dorothy Clear says:

    Thank you for this tutorial that explains why my computer seems to slow down at times. Much appreciated, so much that I’ve printed these instructions.

  2. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    I like your explaining the usability of every tab in the Task Manager. Thanks.

    In Windows 7, one can even access the Task Manager by just right clicking on the taskbar.

  3. Jack says:

    You forgot to mention the easiest way to start the Task Manager: right click the task bar.

  4. Marie Freeman says:

    thank you for explaining this whole process, in a way we
    can definitely understand, have a good day
    again thank you
    Marie

  5. Lillian Lakritz says:

    I have used the task manager when a program is not responding. I just shut off the program and then re boot it again.
    You’ve told us what each tab contains, but you didn’t say if a person should get rid of any thing under the specific headings. If there are programs that need to be deleted, which ones would that be? I’m always afraid to take anything off of my PC incase it’s the wrong thing. I usually call my tech friend to do it for me.

    • cynthia says:

      You really can’t delete anything from task manager. You can stop processes or close programs. But unless you are having some type of issue with your computer, you really don’t need to worry about it.

  6. […] Glad to see that lots of you read my article on understanding the Task Manager. […]

  7. Annegret Winsor says:

    I am sure this question has been prviously asked and answered, but I am unable to find it right now. Why is it, when I only have 1 instance of Chrome running on my computer (one Window open), in Taskmanager I see 7 instances?

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