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Windows 8 Task Manager: Big Upgrade

Monday, December 10th, 2012 by | Filed Under: Windows 8
 
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Let’s be honest, the news about Windows 8 isn’t all sunshine and roses. Many people question the value of Windows 8 over Windows 7, especially if you’re using a traditional computer and not a touch screen tablet. Windows Task Manager got a big overhaul in Windows 8, and now gives a lot more useful information in a layout that’s far easier to understand.

To open Task Manager in Windows 8, you right-click the task bar and click Task Manager, or press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, and you’ll be presented with the new process tab by default. This tab now includes the proper name of the program, along with information on the CPU usage, memory usage, disk access usage and network usage. You can right-click on any of these applications or background processes and select go to details to view the selection in the details tab, with the traditional process view of Windows 7 task manager. This new process view gives you a much better picture of what the programs are, as well as what may be slowing down/hogging system resources.

The performance tab gives a much more streamlined interface to monitor your system’s current performance. CPU utilization is listed as a graph showing all of your computer’s processor cores. On the left of the screen, you see information pertaining to memory usage, disk access, network access and Wi-Fi access. You can also view detailed information on your processor’s current speed, its number of physical and logical cores (some processors support hyper threading, so each core can process two things at the same time), and other system information.

The app history tab is specific to Windows 8 store apps and will show you the processor time, network usage, metered network (if your tablet has a 3G or 4G data plan), and tile update usage. This is very useful for Windows 8 tablet users to see which apps may be negatively affecting their performance, or which have so many updates and network resources that they may want to consider uninstalling them. This is not a huge benefit to traditional desktop users, but if you’ve ever had to deal with mystery apps on Android slowing down your system, this kind of utility would be a god send.

Last but not least is the new Startup tab, which may be one of the best improvements Microsoft has made to Task Manager. This tab allows you to view all of the applications and files that launch when your computer starts. These programs traditionally include helper toolbars, program updaters, tray applications, and other utilities useful to operating devices on your computer. They can also be a massive drag on computer start-up time, causing your computer to run slower than it should.

In this tab, you’ll see the application name, publisher, whether it’s enabled or disabled, and what the impact on the start up speed has been. You can right-click any of these applications and choose to disable or enable the program at start up, open the file, get properties, or best of all, search online, which will locate the process name so you can get more information on what it might be for. This single utility will help people remove useless tray applications and see what’s causing windows to start and run slower, without the need for a third party program or advanced knowledge registry editing.

While the improvements to Task Manager do not make up for the various missteps of Windows 8 in its entirety, this is a significant improvement that makes me miss the new Task Manager whenever I use Windows 7.

-Tim

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4 Responses to “Windows 8 Task Manager: Big Upgrade”

  1. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Hi Tim,

    Do you remember that many of us did not find any valid reasons (Mmm… even now) to upgrade to WIN 7, except that MS won’t support it anymore and the win applications/browsers may stop functioning soon in XP.I’m not surprised that any of us are not interested in budging up for WIN 8 too!

    Thanks for your highlight on vastly improved Task Manager of WIN 8. Kudos to Microsoft for it. What I really appreciate is that they have included the imapact of programs to support our decision making. It would have been nice if they had ALSO indicated whether some file/program is from windows or not.That help, I being typical vanilla user, definitely need when I wonder some thing listed is a virus/malware program.

    Very nice and well written article. Thanks!

  2. Jocelynne Littlebear says:

    EXCELLENT essay on Win 8. Thank you for your efforts. Your latest contribution (Win 8 Task Manager) is enormously helpful. If you write a manual on Win 8, I will certainly purchase a copy.

    JL

  3. Melody (from TX) says:

    Great tip. Keep up the good work. Say, what I need to know is there a quick shut down for Windows 8 ?

  4. danwat1234 says:

    The only thing I don’t like about the new Task Manager is that on the “Processes” tab (the tab with the heat map), the memory values in the memory column is of “Memory (Private Working Set)”, not “Working Set: (Memory)”.
    So, in the processes tab, you don’t see the true amount of RAM some process is using, usually it is slighter larger and sometimes a much larger value in real life. You can see the true value in the Details tab if you have the “Working Set: (Memory)” column.

    1 other little gripe is that the new task manager is a bit bloated, needs a bit of code refinement. It takes about 1 seconds to load up on a 3GHZ Core 2 duo machine even if cached in memory (not hard drive bottleneck). About 3 seconds if not in RAM yet. The Windows 7 Task Manager was a lot smaller program.

    All in all I like the new task manager, it adds a lot of usefulness and the slowality really is a big deal since I’m a speed freak and my next computer will probably have 3x the single core performance so it’ll be super fast again.

    Windows 8; Just disable Metro with Start8 and there you go, a nice efficient OS.

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