Using Windows Task Manager – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.4

Task Manager is a powerful utility for viewing real-time OS metrics and performance information. In this video, you’ll learn about Windows Task Manager and what statistics can be viewed in the Task Manager utility.

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If you need a view of what’s happening on your system in real time, then you want to use the Windows Task Manager. This is a great place to go to view statistics like your CPU utilization, how much memory a particular process or application might be using. You can see exactly how much disk access might be going on at any particular time.

This can be really helpful for trying to find those applications that are slowing down your computer, or that might be using a lot of CPU cycles. To start the Task Manager, you can press Control+Alt+Delete, and then choose Task Manager. You can also start the Task Manager directly from the task bar. If you right mouse click anywhere in an open space in the task bar, you’ll have one of those options available for the Task Manager. Or, you can use my favorite hotkey to launch the Task Manager, which is Control+Shift+Escape.

Here’s my Windows 7 desktop. I’m going to start a few tasks. Let’s start the Notepad, I’ll also start a Calculator. We get some things going in this operating system. And now I’d like to see just how much memory and other types of system resources might be used by these applications.

So I’m going to start the Task Manager. And I could go down to the task bar and right mouse click and choose Start Task Manager, or use my Control+Shift+Escape, and Task Manager will launch. You have a number of different tabs across the top. If you’re looking at what’s happening from an application perspective, we’ll start with this Application tab, and you can see I’ve got two apps running, which is the Calculator and which is my Notepad.

And from here, we can end the task, we can switch to a particular task, or we can even launch new tasks right here. If you know the exact command line option to use to start a particular executable, this would be great place to do it. Very similar to the Start Run option inside of Windows.

Well of course, what we see as applications on our desktop doesn’t really show the whole picture. There are a lot of other things that are happening behind the scenes, and to see those, we can go to the next tab, which is called Processes.

In the Processes tab, we can see all the different applications that might be running as processes. And we can see that some of these are not listed as applications. We can certainly see the calc.exe, and we can see the notepad.exe, but notice Windows Explorer itself is an executable, and things like My Virtual Box Guest Tray that is down on my task bar is also listed here. And there are a number of other processes running here as well.

There are also system processes we don’t see here. By default, we just see the processes for us. But if we check this at the bottom, this click this button for Share Processes From All Users, we can see all of the system options, as well. Look at all of these things that are running on our Windows system, and you can view it all from this view in Task Manager.

You can also change what you can view. Notice you see the image name, the executable that’s running. The user that launched this particular process, we can see CPU utilization, how much memory, and the description, but you can also change options for the columns.

Maybe you’d like to see information about IO, especially reading and writing traffic. Maybe you’d like to include those. Now you have even more statistics to view inside of Task Manager, and if you’re trying to troubleshoot and find out exactly where a slowdown might be occurring, you may need to load up some additional metrics to view.

There’s also a Services tab, which shows you just the services that are running on your computer. This might allow you to identify what the status of a particular service might be without having to go into the Services Manager inside of Windows.

There’s also a Performance tab so we can see how much CPU, how much memory, and other memory statistics may be used on this computer any particular time. Notice there’s also a convenient button here to launch the External Resource Monitor.

If you’re trying to determine what type of utilization you’re using across the network, there’s a Networking tab, and there’s also a Users tab. If there are multiple users connected to your computer, maybe they’re connecting across the network, you would see them listed here. That way, if you wanted to disconnect someone from a particular application, or remove them from your computer, or simply shut down, you can get an update of exactly who might be on your computer at any particular time.

There is a lot of detail inside of the Windows Task Manager, but you can see that if you’re trying to troubleshoot a particular performance problem, you should be able to find all the information you need right inside of the Task Manager.