Task Manager, how it works and how to use it

Task Manager, how it works and how to use it

This article focuses on the Windows 10 Task Manager or Task Manager, although much of this also applies to Windows 7. Microsoft has greatly improved the Task Manager since the release of Windows 7. This guide explains every feature and technical term in the Task Manager o Windows Task Manager.

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

We will start by explaining in a simple way what exactly is the task manager that you have surely heard about when someone tells you about solutions to many computer program problems. Then, we will move on to explain the functions of the task manager with which you can make the most of it. This guide also works for the Windows 7 Task Manager.

What is the Task Manager?

Then we explain what the Task Manager is. When you press the Control + Alt + Del keys simultaneously on your computer, you will go to a Windows screen where you have several options, including accessing the task manager. You can also find it by right-clicking on the Windows taskbar or by typing taskmgr in the start menu to make it your first search result.

The task manager is an application integrated into the Windows operating system itself. Nothing needs to be installed, nor can it be uninstalled. It is used to obtain information about programs in execution in real time on the computer and also on those processes that are not running, but which normally work without you knowing it in the background.

Specifically, this feature will allow you to see the amount of CPU and RAM you are using at all times on your computer and it will stop all open processes so you can see how much each of them is consuming. On processes and programs, you will also see the storage space they are taking up, as well as how much network or GPU memory they are using.

In addition to being able to see all of this, you will also be able to manage these processes that are open. Eg, you can force the process to close or restart them in case it is needed at some point because they are causing problems or malfunctions.

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

What you can do with the Windows Task Manager or Task Manager

Below we will mention some of the main functions of Windows Task Manager, both the well-known ones and others you may not know were present. And it is that in the end, almost all of us go to the administrator basically to see if some application is crashing or consuming too much, leaving its other functions somewhat aside.

Discover the active processes

The first function of the task manager is to have a list with all your open processes , for which you have to 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 it will offer you about each application and process in the different columns is the same:

  • Your name: the name of the running application or process.
  • State: when a process or application is in power saving mode, will appear.
  • CPU: the percentage of processor power you are using. The higher it is, the more demanding it is to run the application or process.
  • Memory- The amount of RAM consumed by each of the running processes or applications.
  • disc: If a process or application is writing to your computer's hard drive, you will see the writing speed of each one here.
  • Network: If an application or process accesses the internet, here you will see the download speed each one is using.
  • But by the full GPU acceleration tech: When a process or application uses 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 your artwork is in use, here you can see what functionality it's using. For example, it can process video or 3D graphics.
  • Energy consumption: you will be able to know the total power consumption of each of the processes in real time, indicating its impact on the CPU, GPU and hard drive.
  • Energy consumption trend: tells you the same as the previous one, but how this impact is usually over time rather than at this very moment.

Compact task manager

The task manager has two ways of appearing, compact or detailed. And if you are in one, you can switch to the other by clicking on the button for more or less details that you will have at the bottom left. In less detail mode, you will simply see the applications always running, but without the detailed information on each of them.

Force close the desired processes

There are times when you close an application but something goes wrong and it stays running in the background. When this happens and an application is "hooked", which usually happens even when it consumes more resources, it is time to force quit this application. To do this, you simply need to do right-click on the application in the administrator list and choose the End task option.

Identify and locate running processes

Imagine that something seems to be wrong in your computer, and suddenly it seems to be a little slow and you don't know exactly why. The only thing you know is that it is not due to an application that you have open. Maybe there is a virus or some program you don't know running in the background?

Well, showing the resource consumption of background processes, you can see if there are any that consume too much without knowing exactly why.

The most useful thing is that when you right-click on an application or process, you can choose the Search online option to perform an automatic search in Google or your default search engine for the name of this process.

Therefore, you will be able to identify what exactly 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 or task manager is to monitor the performance of your computer. You will do it entering the Performance tab, where you can see a graph with all the data and the evolution of the performance of your computer's components, from the CPU to the GPUs you may have.

If you have two hard drives, they will both appear with the letter assigned to them and tell you whether it is a mechanical HDD or an SSD. Also, in the case of having a dedicated and an integrated graphics, they will both appear with the name of their models and also the temperature they are at at all times.

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

Check which applications you have open

The task manager or task manager comes with an Application History tab. In it you will be able to see a list of all the applications you have open today along with a summary of the resources that each of them consumed.

Also, in case you want to run a check on any of the applications in the list, if you right click on it, you will see the Change to option, which is used to open or access it again.

Decide which apps to launch with the system

The Startup tab is used to configure which applications are started along with the operating system. In each of the lists, you will be able to see the current state, those that start when the computer is turned on being enabled and their impact at startup, i.e. how much each of these applications can slow down the computer startup while running at the beginning.

This way you can do two things. You can prevent some applications from starting together with Windows so that your computer takes less time to start up. Or, if startup time isn't that important to you, you can configure applications to start alongside Windows and always have them running when you need them.

Compare the consumption of each PC user

In case you are on a computer that is usually used by more than one person and that has several users configured, you can use the Users tab to find out how many resources each person consumed on the computer. Therefore, in a corporate or network environment, you may have more detailed information.

More for advanced users

And although this is already far from the knowledge of the most inexperienced users for whom we usually write, in the Details and Services tabs, users with more knowledge will also have even more information about each process that the computer, being able to establish priorities between them, terminate processes or process trees, or manage the services that the computer has activated.

How to open Task Manager or Task Manager?

Task Manager, how it works and how to use it

1. Start task manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete

You are probably familiar with the three-finger greeting: Ctrl + Alt + Del. Until the release of Windows Vista, pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del took you directly to the Task Manager. From Windows Vista, pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del now takes you to the Windows Security screen, which provides options to lock your PC, switch users, log off, and run Task Manager.

2. How to open business management? Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc

The quickest way to bring up the Task Manager, assuming your keyboard is working, is to simply press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. As a bonus, Ctrl + Shift + Esc offers a quick way to view Task Manager while using Remote Desktop or working inside a virtual machine (as Ctrl + Alt + Del would report your local machine instead).

3. Press Windows + X to access the Power User menu

Windows 8 and Windows 10 both have a Power User menu that you can access by pressing Windows + X. The menu offers quick access to all kinds of utilities, including Task Manager.

4. Right-click on the taskbar

If you prefer the mouse to the keyboard, one of the quickest ways to bring up the Task Manager is to right-click on any open space on the taskbar and choose “Task Manager”. Just two clicks and you are there.

5. Run “taskmgr” from the Run box or the Start menu

The name of the executable file for the Task Manager is “taskmgr.exe”. You can start Task Manager by pressing Start, typing “taskmgr” in the Start menu search box and pressing Enter.

You can also run it by pressing Windows + R to open the Run box, typing “taskmgr” and then pressing Enter.

6. Navigate to taskmgr.exe in File Explorer

You can also start Task Manager by opening its executable directly. This is definitely the longest way to open Task Manager, but we're including it for completeness. Open File Explorer and go to the following path:

C: WindowsSystem32

Scroll down and search for (or search for) taskmgr.exe, then double-click it.

Create a shortcut to Task Manager or Task Manager

And the last one on our list is creating a nice and accessible link to Task Manager. You can do this in a couple of ways. To add a shortcut to the taskbar, go ahead and run the Task Manager using one of the methods described.

While it is running, right-click the Task Manager icon on the taskbar and choose “Pin to Taskbar”. After that, you can click the link to run Task Manager at any time.

If you want to create a shortcut on the desktop (or in a folder), right-click on any empty space where you want to create the shortcut, then choose New> Shortcut.

In the Create Link window, enter the following location in the box and press “Next”.

C: WindowsSystem32

Type a name for the new link, then click "Done".

This is the end of our list! Some methods are obviously more efficient than others, but if you find yourself in a difficult situation - broken keyboard or mouse, fighting annoying malware viruses, or whatever - any method that works is a good one.

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