How to Use Windows Task Manager: Part 2

Last week we looked at using the Applications and Processes tabs to perform basic troubleshooting in Windows. With the Applications tab you can see your running programs and close them manually if you need to, and same for the Processes tab. Today we will look a bit closer at the information available in the Processes tab, and then move on to the rest of the functions of Task Manager.

In your list of running processes there are two important pieces of information you can glean from here: CPU usage and memory usage. CPU usage is displayed as a percentage of your CPU’s processing capacity, and is a good indicator of how much of your computer’s processing power a particular process is consuming. If it’s consuming 99% you won’t be able to do much at all on your computer! Memory usage is displayed in Kilobytes, and reflects how much of your computer’s memory or RAM (random access memory) a process is using. If you look at the bottom you will a figure for CPU Usage and Physical Memory, and these show you the total amount of CPU and memory all of your processes combined are currently using.

Next we have the Services tab. This tab gives you a list of the services you have installed, and tells you whether they are currently running or stopped. It also provides you with a brief description as well as access to the Services management window, which gives advanced users more detail as to how your Windows services are configured and options to change their configuration. Most users will not need to look at this tab often.

The Performance tab gives you a more detailed breakdown of your system’s resources, in particular your CPU and RAM usage. Here you can see a graphical representation of resource usage, which can be a lot easier to understand than a list of random processes. There is also some advanced information here such as a breakdown of RAM usage into Total, Cached, Available and Free, as well as Kernel Memory and Threads and Handles statistics. Don’t worry about these if you’re a basic user, you will probably never have any use for them! You can also access the Resource Monitor, which gives you even more information of resource usage. The Resource Monitor allows you to look at CPU, RAM, disk, and networking resource usage, what processes are using how much, and more.

The Networking tab displays a graph of data transfer for all the network connections available to your computer. Generally this will only be one, sometimes two for some configurations. Finally, the Users tab provides a list of all currently logged in users, as well as the option of Logoff.

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