Windows Task Manager

Windows Task Manager: What it is and how to get the most out of it

We’re going to explain what it is and how to get the most out of Windows 10 Task Manager. It’s an element that has been in the operating system for many years in previous versions, and that will help you manage all your tasks and improve the performance of your computer when something is failing.

Let’s start by explaining in a simple way what exactly is that task manager you have surely heard about when someone exposes you solutions for many computer programs problems. Then, we will tell you the functions of the task manager with which you will be able to squeeze the maximum out of it.

What is the task manager

When you press the Control + Alt + Delete keys on the computer at the same time, you will be taken to a Windows screen where you have several options, including access to the task manager. You can also find it by right-clicking on the Windows taskbar or typing taskmgr in the start menu to make it your first search result.

The task manager is an application that comes integrated into the Windows operating system itself. You don’t have to install anything, nor can it be uninstalled. It serves to obtain information about the programs that are working in real time on your computer, and also those processes that you do not run, but that usually work without your knowledge in the background.

Specifically, this function will allow you to see the amount of CPU and RAM memory you are using at any given time in your computer, and it will break down all the open processes so that you can see how much each one is consuming. Over the processes and programs, you’ll also see how much storage they occupy, as well as how much network or GPU memory they’re using.

In addition to seeing all of this, you’ll also be able to manage these processes that are open. For example, you’ll be able to force processes to shut down or restart them if necessary at any point because they’re causing problems or malfunctioning.

The task manager will also provide you with graphs and data on the use of your computer hardware. Here, in addition to real-time information on the total usage of each component, you will also see the history on the graph, so that you can detect when there have been performance peaks.

What you can do with the task manager

Here are some of the main functions of the Task Manager, both those that are well known and others that you may not have known were there. In the end, almost all of us go to the administrator basically to see if any application is failing or consuming too much, leaving their other functions a little aside.

Find out about the active processes

The first function of the task manager is to have a list of all your open processes, for which you must enter its Processes tab, which is the first of all. This list is usually divided into two parts: first you will see the applications running and then all the processes running in the background. In both cases, the data that it will offer you about each application and process in the different columns is the same:

  • Name: The name of the application or process in execution.
  • Status: When a process or application is in power-saving mode, it will appear.
  • CPU: The percentage of processor power it is using. The higher it is, the more demanding the operation of the application or process will be.
  • Memory: The amount of RAM memory being consumed by each of the processes or applications you are running.
  • Disk: If a process or application is writing to your computer’s hard disk, here you will see the writing speed of each one.
  • Network: If an application or process is accessing the Internet, here you will see the download speed that each one is using.
  • GPU: When a process or application is using the graphics card, here you will be able to see it and know the percentage of use.
  • GPU Engine: If it’s not enough to know that your graphic is being used, here you will be able to see what feature it is using. For example, it can be video processing, or 3D graphics.
  • Power Consumption: You can see the total power consumption of each process in real time, indicating its impact on the CPU, GPU, and hard drive.
  • Power Consumption Trend: This shows you the same as above, but how this impact tends to be over time rather than at this point.

Compact Task Manager

The task manager has two ways of looking at it, the compact or the detailed. And if you’re in one, you can switch to the other by clicking on the more or less detailed button at the bottom left. In the less detailed mode,

Compact task manager

The task manager has two ways of looking at it, the compact or the detailed. And if you’re in one, you can switch to the other by clicking on the more or less detailed button at the bottom left. In the less detailed mode, you’ll simply see the applications running at all times, but without the detailed information about each one.

Force the closing of the processes you want

There are times when you close an application but something goes wrong and it stays running in the background. When this happens and some application gets “stuck”, which also happens when it is consuming more resources, then it is time to force the closure of this application. To do this, simply right click on the application in the administrator’s list, and choose the option End task.

Identify and locate the processes that are running

Imagine that something seems to be wrong with your computer, and suddenly it seems to be going a little slow and you don’t know exactly why. The only thing you know is that it’s not because of an application you’ve opened. Maybe there’s a virus or some program you don’t know running in the background? Well, by showing the resource consumption of processes in the background, you can see if there are any that are consuming too much without you knowing exactly why.

The most useful thing about this, is that when you right click on an application or process, you can choose the option to Search Online to do an automatic search in Google or your default search engine of the name of this process. This way, you can identify exactly what this process is and what it is for, and if it is something dangerous, there is an option to open its location on the hard drive to try to delete or uninstall it.

Monitor your computer’s performance

Another of the main functions of the task manager is to monitor your computer’s performance. You can do this by going to the Performance tab, where you can see a graph of all the data and performance of your computer’s components, from the CPU to the GPUs you may have.

If you have two hard disks, both will appear with the letter assigned to them and telling you whether it’s an HDD mechanic or an SSD. In addition, if you have a dedicated graphic and an integrated one, both will appear with the name of their models and even the temperature at which they are at all times.

And if you are not interested in the history, but simply want to see the performance in real time, you can also right click on any data and choose the Summary View option. The task manager will shrink to show only the real-time data, which in the full view is the left column.

Check which applications you have had open

The task manager also has an Application History tab. Here, you’ll see a list of all the applications you’ve had open today, along with a summary of the resources each one has consumed. This way, you can review which of the applications you’ve had consume more than you think is desirable.

In addition, in case you want to check any of the applications on the list, if you right-click on it you’ll see the Change to option, which serves to open it again or go to it.

Decide which apps start next to the system

The Home tab is used to configure which applications are started next to the operating system. In each one of the list, you can see the current status, being enabled those that start when the computer is turned on, and their impact on the startup, which is how much each of these applications can make the computer start slower when running at startup.

This way you can do two things. You can prevent some applications from starting up next to Windows so that the computer takes less time to boot up. Or, if boot time isn’t that important to you, you can set up applications to start alongside Windows and always have them running when you need them.

Compare the power consumption of each PC user

If you are on a computer that is usually used by more than one person, and have different users configured, you can use the Users tab to find out how many resources each person has consumed on the computer. This way, in a business or network environment, you can have more detailed information.

More for advanced users

And although this will be far from the knowledge of the more inexperienced users for whom we usually write, in the Details and Services tabs, the more knowledgeable users will also have even more information about each process the computer has in progress, being able to set priorities among them, finish the processes or process trees, or manage the services the computer has activated.

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