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3/11/2019 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn't Know

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10 Windows Task Manager


Tricks You Didn’t Know
By Joel Lee / February 12, 2016 12-02-2016 / 9 minutes

Joel Lee
1746 articles

Joel Lee has a B.S. in Computer


Science and over six years of
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professional writing experience. H
Advertisement is the Editor in Chief for MakeUse

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If you’re like most Windows users, the only time you pull up the
Task Manager is when an application is frozen and you need to Wifi Porter: The Eas
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kill it. It’s perfectly ne to use the Task Manager for that, but you
should know that you may be overlooking some features that
you’d nd useful if only you knew about them.
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When Microsoft revamped the Task Manager in Windows 8, Mesh Wi-Fi on a Bud
people lashed out and complained that Microsoft had ruined yet
another thing that wasn’t broken to begin with. But not all of it
was bad, and with the extra improvements made in Windows 10,
the Task Manager is actually pretty awesome now.

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So let’s take a closer look at what you might be missing out on.
(These features may not be available prior to Windows 8, but Latest Videos
the Task Manager in Windows 7 is still pretty awesome!)

1. Launch the Task Manager


As of now, there are ve different ways to launch the Task
Manager. Some are well known and commonly used, but a few
are less obvious, easier to use, and arguably better for the
average user. Pick the one you prefer and use it to your heart’s Top 10 Free (and LEGAL) Movie
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1. Ctrl + Alt + Del. Here’s the method that nearly everyone knows
about. There’s nothing wrong with it, but in Windows 10, it
doesn’t directly launch the Task Manager. Instead, it presents
you with a choice and you have to click the Task Manager option
to launch it. Yuck.

2. Ctrl + Shift + Esc. This keyboard shortcut immediately


launches the Task Manager, no option selection necessary.
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What’s nice is that you can execute it with one hand (unlike Ctrl +
Alt + Del, which requires two hands for most people). Personally,
this is the method I prefer to use.

3. The Taskbar. If you right-click on the Taskbar at the bottom


of the screen, there’s an option you’ve probably missed time and
time again: Task Manager! This is the easiest method to use if
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This is another great way to launch the Task Manager with
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5. The Run Command. Open the Run prompt with the Win + R
keyboard shortcut, then type taskmgr and hit Enter. You can
also run this command in the File Explorer address bar or in the SelectTV by
Start Menu search bar.
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2. Find Out Why Apps Are Frozen

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As we mentioned before, the most common reason to open the SyncMate 7:


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Task Manager is to kill a frozen application. But the next time Lifetime Expert $

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How to Kill Unresponsive Programs Devices)
Without the Task Manager
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instinct is probably to visit the Task Manager. Here's a
super-fast shortcut you can use to kill idle tasks instead.

READ MORE

windows-task-manager-wait-chain

Prematurely killing an active application could result in lost data,


and even if you’re diligent about keeping good backups, you
may not be able to recover everything. That’s why, whenever
possible, you should wait and see if a frozen application
resolves itself.

5 Basic Backup Facts Every Windows


User Should Know
We never tire to remind you to make backups and keep
your data safe. If you're wondering what, how often, and
where you should back up your les, we have straight
forward answers.

READ MORE

That’s when the Analyze Wait Chain feature in the Task


Manager comes in handy. It can tell you when a process is stuck
waiting on another process, which can help you identify why an
application isn’t responding (i.e. which process is the real
culprit). Only available under the Details tab.

3. Restart Windows Explorer

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Sometimes you may nd that some parts of your system aren’t


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responding (e.g. Taskbar, File Explorer, Start Menu, etc.) while
other applications are running just ne. Restarting your
computer will solve the issue, but it may be enough to restart
Windows Explorer instead.

windows-task-manager-restart-explorer

This is actually a common enough problem that Task Manager


now has a special action for the Windows Explorer process:
Restart. This will kill the task for you and automatically restart it.
(It conveniently saves you from having to restart it yourself.)
Always worth a try when Windows is frozen but other
applications aren’t.

4. Monitor Performance & Resources


Here’s where the Task Manager really shines. Not only does it
provide an overview of all running processes and applications,
but it has several tools for effectively monitoring the
performance of your system and how your resources are being
allocated.

windows-task-manager-performance-details

Try these under the Performance tab:

Resource Monitor: Click on Open Resource Monitor at the


bottom of the window to launch the Resource Monitor,
which is an advanced way to view real-time data about your
system: threads used, disk response times, exact
breakdowns of RAM used by processes, etc.

Overview Modes: Right-click anywhere in the left sidebar


and select Hide Graphs to hide the graphs and Summary
View to display nothing but the sidebar. The other way
works too: right-click anywhere in the right panel and select
Graph Summary View to display nothing but the current
graph.

Diagnostic Info: With any resource type selected (e.g. CPU,


Memory, Disk, etc), you can right-click anywhere and select
Copy to load a diagnostic snapshot into your clipboard.

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Paste it anywhere — like in Notepad, in an email, or in a


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forum post — as it could help with troubleshooting.

Network Details: With Network selected, right-click in the


right panel and select View Network Details to get a real-
time breakdown of things like network utilization, link
speed, bytes sent and received, etc.

Other Useful Details: Each resource type has some


interesting details that might come in handy, such as
System Uptime under CPU, RAM Slots Used under Memory,
and Read/Write Speeds under Disk.

5. Search Online for Suspicious


Processes
Every once in a while, you may nd some suspicious-looking
process names in Task Manager. Most of the time they’ll be
legitimate, but you should never assume that a process is
benevolent — especially if you’ve never seen or heard of it
before.

windows-task-manager-search-online

Windows can help. Just right-click on any process and select the
Search Online action. This will launch a search in your browser
with the application name and the process name, which will help
you to determine whether or not it’s safe or malicious.

The next time you spot a suspicious process running in


Windows, this should be the rst step you take. If search results
tell you that the process could be related to malware, then you
should take further steps to scan and remove potential
infections on your PC.

How To Handle Suspicious Windows


Task Manager Processes
CTRL + ALT + DEL aka three- nger salute is the
quickest way to add to your confusion. Sorting through
Task Manager Processes, you may notice something
like svchost.exe using 99% of your CPU. So now...

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6. Add Extra Columns for Details


By default, the new Task Manager only shows ve columns when
listing processes: Name, CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network. While
these are the most important details, you can actually add up to
six more columns just by right-clicking the header area.

The additional columns are Type (or process type), Status,


Publisher, PID (or process ID), Process Name (usually the
executable le), and Command Line (the command and
parameters used when the process was launched).

windows-task-manager-extra-columns

All of them can be useful in the right situation, but I nd that the
Process Name is particularly useful because it’s easier to spot
suspicious applications by their process name than their
application name. The Publisher column can also be helpful
when something seems suspicious.

Extra columns can also be added under the Startup tab, whether
for troubleshooting purposes (like CPU and Disk I/O at Startup)
or just to see which startup processes are still running (with the
Running Now column).

7. Toggle Between Values &


Percentages
When browsing the list of processes, the CPU column can only
be shown with percentages, but the other three default columns
can have their displays switched between absolute values and
percentages.

windows-task-manager-resource-values

Percentages are better when you need a sense of how a


particular process’s resource usage compares to the total
amount of that resource available. It’s nice to know if Opera is

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using 40 MB of RAM, but it can also be useful to know that that’s


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only 2% of all the RAM in your system.

To toggle these, just right-click on any process, navigate to the


Resource Values submenu, pick the resource type you want to
change, and select either Values or Percents.

8. Manage App Windows Easily


Task Manager is far from the best window management tool out
there, but it does have a few actions that you might nd useful.
To access them, you have to click the pulldown arrow next to the
one you want to manage. This only works for items listed under
the Apps section of the Processes tab.

windows-task-manager-window-management

Once you open the pulldown menu for an item, right-click it and
you’ll see ve window actions for that application:

Switch To: Brings focus to the application and minimizes


Task Manager to the Taskbar.

Bring to Front: Brings focus to the application, but doesn’t


minimize Task Manager. Doesn’t work if there’s another
application that’s “Always on Top”.

Minimize: Minimizes the application without bringing focus


to the application window.

Maximize: Maximizes the application without bringing


focus to the application window.

End Task: Kills the application completely.

9. Open App File Locations


Do you often nd yourself needing to navigate to the installed
location of a particular program? Maybe you need to tweak
some con guration les, or maybe you want to drop some new
theme les for that particular program.

Crawling through File Explorer is one way to do that, but it


requires so many clicks and consumes so much time. Rather, if

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the program is already running, Task Manager can help you get
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there in record time.

windows-task-manager-open-location

Just right-click on any process and select Open File Location.


This will take you directly to the folder that contains the
process’s executable le (i.e. the same le that shows up under
the Process Name column if you toggled that on). Super fast,
super convenient.

This works for Apps, Background Processes, and Windows


Processes — pretty much anything that shows up under the
Processes tab can be quick-accessed in this way.

10. Launch the Command Prompt


Directly
In the Task Manager, you can go to the File menu and select Run
New Task to launch the Run prompt. Most people know this, as it
was the best way to manually restart a frozen Windows Explorer
in previous versions of Windows.

windows-task-manager-command-prompt

Well, if you hold the Ctrl key at the same time you click on the
Run New Task action, it actually launches the Command Prompt
instead of the Run prompt. We’re not sure why this is hidden
behind a secret Ctrl modi er because it’s actually a pretty neat
trick that many aren’t aware of.

To be fair, there are several other ways to launch the Command


Prompt, but it’s still good to know that this trick exists. You
never know when you might need to use it.

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How Do You Use the Task Manager?


For the average user, the Task Manager is more than enough to
provide you with the system information you need to keep your
system in check. Power users may be happier with something
more advanced, like one of these Task Manager alternatives.

5 Powerful Alternatives to the Windows


Task Manager
Task Killer would be a better name for the native
Windows Task Manager since we only bring it up to kill
unresponsive processes. Alternative Task Managers
allow you to actually manage your processes.

READ MORE

Again, some of the above-mentioned features may not be


available prior to Windows 10, so that could be one of many
compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 10.

What do you think of the Task Manager? Can you think of any
other features it should have? What would make it more
useful? Tell us in the comments below!

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Windows 10, Windows 7,


Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Task Manager.

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