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An Introduction to the New Task Manager


The Task Manager has come a long way since the early days of Windows, with small incremental updates to its functionality and interface appearing with every new edition of the operating system. Windows 8 brings some of the biggest changes to the Task Manager since Windows 95. It will be more user-friendly for the average user who normally only uses the Task Manager to shut down an unresponsive program. The Windows 8 Task Manager also provides an advanced view which enthusiasts will love since it provides detailed performance information and much more.

As in Windows 7, the Windows 8 Task Manager is accessible by pressing CTRL, ALT and DELETE and then clicking "Start Task Manager" back in the welcome screen. It is also accessible from the right-click menu of the taskbar when in Desktop mode. By default, the basic version of the Task Manager will open. This shows only a list of running programs and nothing more. To close down a program, all you need to do is click to highlight it and click "End Task." According to Microsoft, around 85% of Task Manager use is for this purpose alone, hence the reason why that is all that you see initially.

Advanced users can click the arrow beside "More details" to unravel the full Task Manager. With this mode activated, you will now be able to see how much memory, processing power, disk space and network bandwidth each program is using. Below the list of running programs, you'll also be able to see a list of processes running in the background. Again, you'll see details on the system resources used by each process. Scroll further down the Task Manager and you'll see a list of running Windows processes and their details.

Beside the names of any running programs and background processes, you'll also see an arrow which you can click to display further details. These details will show you each sub-process and the system resources that they are using. For example, if you have multiple tabs open in your web browser, you will see details for each tab.

Windows 8 also makes things a lot easier by naming each process something intelligible rather than a jumble of letters and acronyms. If you're still not sure of what a particular process does, you can right-click on it and choose the "Search the web" option to find out more. These friendly names make it much easier for both novice and advanced users alike to use the Task Manager in a more efficient way.

The other tabs of the Windows 8 Task Manager also provide useful information. The "Performance" tab provides important performance details about overall processor, memory, disk and network usage, similar to the corresponding tab in the Windows 7 Task Manager. The Windows 8 version is provided in a clearer way and provides some extra detail about your hardware. As in Windows 7, the processor details display performance information for each processor core in your computer.

Windows 8 users will also be able to view which applications have been opened previously during the time that the computer has been turned on. Opening the "App History" tab will reveal all of the details, including performance information that has been recorded.

The "Startup" tab is a completely new feature which allows you to easily configure which programs do and do not start up when you log in to Windows. You won't have to use "msconfig" any more. Finally, the "Details" and "Services" tab provides a similar functionality to the "Processes" and "Services" tabs in Windows 7.

 

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