Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Using Task Manager – Windows 7 Style

An Overview and Tutorial on the Windows Task Manager

There are several ways that you can access the Task Manager in Windows, and that’s still true in Windows 7. One method is to right-click on a blank section of the Taskbar, and select Task Manager from the context menu. Or you can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Or you can click the Start button, type “taskmgr” (no quotes) into the Search box, and press Enter. Or you can press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, (the good old “three-fingered salute”) you’ll see a full screen menu and can click Start Task Manager.

The “tabs”: the 6 tabs in Task Manager are Applications, Processes, Services, Performance, Networking, and Users.

Applications tab operates exactly the same as it does in XP and Vista. It allows you to determine the status of a task (you might see a program “not responding”) as well as end, switch, or create a new task. The former is the use for Task Manager that most people are familiar with: when you have a “frozen” (aka “not responding”) program, you click on it in, and then click the End Task button, which hopefully closes it down. (If it doesn’t, reboot.) But there is more to Task Manager than just this use! And these are found on the other tabs.

Processes tab provides you with very detailed information about the programs and Services (aka “processes”) currently running on your system, which is useful to experienced users (and techs) for troubleshooting.
* The “Image Name” column identifies the executable file. (Note: this is not always a “user friendly” name, and when you see these weird-looking spellings, Google is your friend. Do not assume that if you don’t understand it, it must be bad: wuauclt.exe is your friend, for one example, even if it is weird-looking [it’s Windows Update].)
* The “Description” column identifies each process in a more “user friendly” way. Don’t panic if a process’s description is blank; some basic Windows Services and “background” functions are generic and/or not described.
* The “CPU” and “Memory” columns tell you how much resources a process is using. A really high CPU number, or staying at 100%, can be an indicator of a problem.

Now for the fun: right – click.

ProcTab

Useful information about a process can be accessed by right-clicking on it and selecting the “Open File Location” or “Properties” options – when you select the Open File Location, Windows Explorer opens the folder containing the file; and selecting Properties, opens the file’s standard Properties dialog box.

The “Set Affinity ability is useful for getting old programs to run properly on the new multi-core PC’s. See Multicore Computers and Old Programs* for more on that topic.

Services tab provides you with a convenient way to quickly view the Services that are running while you’re troubleshooting. Right-clicking allows you to Stop the Service.

Performance tab (my fave) If you’re coming to Win7 from XP, this is where you’ll find the biggest changes to Task Manager. This window shows you actual system load, and ‘plots’ it over time. But I want a more detailed look, usually, so I go straight to the Resource Monitor button (Resource Monitor is a whole ‘nother article..).

Networking tab is essentially the same as in Windows XP. On the Networking tab you can view network status and see how your network is functioning.

Users tab is also essentially the same as in Windows XP. You can see who is logged on to the system, and Users can be disconnected or logged off.

In review; with Windows Task Manager is the “troubleshooting” tool for identifying and examining what is running on your computer; looking for ‘problem’ applications (and if necessary, force them to close with “End Task”) and Services; monitor how your processor and RAM is being used; and access system-level process settings.

Please allow me to remind you of my general advice for beginners: If you do not KNOW, do not touch… or, I should say, “don’t touch until you’ve researched it thoroughly.” You can really mess up your computer (as in “render useless”) by changing settings you don’t fully understand. Remember, too, there’s no shame in seeking the council of a professional… such as myself!

Entries must be received before midnight (Pacific) tonight (Thurs. May 27th) so act now!


** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **


The folks at Genie-soft have generously donated five licenses for Genie Timeline Professional 2.0 to me, to award to my readers. So I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter”.Genie Timeline is a program that creates “backup copies” of the files and settings on your computer. With Timeline, you do not have to be “computer savvy”, and you can set-it-and-forget-it. Timeline constantly monitors your file system, automatically, for you.To enter the drawing, please see: Software License Giveaway: Genie Timeline Professional

Entries must be received before midnight (Pacific) tonight (Thurs. May 27th) so act now!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


Share this post :

June 10, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Simple yet contented. Nicely put Paul.
    Hmmm, couple of questions to clear my doubts :-
    1. What’s the ‘Virtualization’ option in the process’s context menu?
    2. Difference between terminating and killing a process?

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | June 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ranjan,
    1. My understanding is that that has to do with the security method (introduced with Vista) called the “UAC”, and how the Registry and certain files are protected while in a Standard User account. When you have UAC enabled, (which I advise) some processes will be “virtualized”. My reco is to leave this alone.
    2. Again, my understanding is, unless you are referencing the command line, there really is no difference. But, when you use the Applications tab and the “End Task” button, you are ‘terminating’ the problem program in a way that allows it to shut down more properly; and when you use the Processes tab, and right-click+”End process”, you are ‘kill’-ing it and the program is not given warning nor a chance to clean up before ending.

    Perhaps someone out there will provide a better answer…

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | June 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. Oh i see.. It’s clear now.
    Thanks Paul.

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | June 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. thank you paul for information

    Like

    Comment by Türkh Web Tasarım | August 3, 2010 | Reply


Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: