Haven’t we all used Windows Task Manager to kill a pesky application that just hangs? Task Manager has grown task management to include disk, users and network information as well, but there are other apps out there that give you even more information about what your computer is engaged in at a point in time. Even if these apps at least display the same information in ways that are easier to understand and use than Task Manager, they could be useful.
The standard Task Manager certainly has its anomalies, for example, although the first group displayed is titled “apps”, it includes processes associated with standard Windows applications as well as Windows Store apps. Microsoft has provided some tools to augment Task Manager. Process Monitor (and the advanced Process Explorer) do not just display the running processes—they also show what those processes are doing.
A task management app that has a security focus is always a good thing. Security Task Manager displays process information with an emphasis on security. The application provides a virus-scanning link and assigns a security rating to each process to help you determine which ones might be malicious. You can also Google each process, check it for viruses, comment on it, and view its properties.
If it’s more information you’re after, AnVir Task Manager Pro gives you at least two dozen additional task management columns to display. The tool also allows you access for editing your system startup.
Many of the tools built into Windows are not available in one place in Task Manager. Free Extended Task Manager adds some of those tools to the standard Task Manager functions, e.g. summary information, applications, processes, services, performance, networking, users, and port usage information.
Evolution must continue
Some of these apps are free, and the small fee for others might be worth the additional functionality and information they offer. Task Manager has evolved well with Windows 10, but one day it will be due for another overhaul, and we mean more than just changing “spoolsv.exe” to “Spooler Subsystem App”!
How to Launch the Task Manager in Windows?
With Windows there are many ways to launch the Task Manager.
- You can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager with a keyboard shortcut or right-click the Windows taskbar and select “Task Manager.”
- You can also press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then click “Task Manager” on the screen that appears or find the Task Manager shortcut in your Start menu.
Features of Task Manager in Windows
The first time you launch the Task Manager, you’ll see a small, simple window. This window lists the visible applications running on your desktop, excluding background applications. You can select an application here and click “End Task” to close it. This is useful if an application isn’t responding—in other words, if it’s frozen—and you can’t close it the usual way.
You can also right-click an application in this window to access more options:
- Switch To: Switch to the application’s window, bringing it to the front of your desktop and putting it in focus. This is useful if you’re not sure which window is associated with which application.
- End Task: End the process. This works the same as the “End Task” button.
- Run New Task: Open the Create New Task window, where you can specify a program, folder, document, or website address and Windows will open it.
- Always On Top: Make the Task Manager window itself “always on top” of other windows on your desktop, letting you see it at all times.
- Open File Location: Open a File Explorer window showing the location of the program’s .exe file.
- Search Online: Perform a Bing search for the program’s application name and file name. This will help you see exactly what the program is and what it does.
- Properties: Open the Properties window for the program’s .exe file. Here you can tweak compatibility options and see the program’s version number.
While the Task Manager is open, you’ll see a Task Manager icon in your notification area. This shows you how much CPU (central processing unit) resources are currently in use on your system, and you can mouse over it to see memory, disk, and network usage. It’s an easy way to keep tabs on your computer’s CPU usage.
To see the system tray icon without the Task Manager appearing on your taskbar, click Options > Hide When Minimized in the full Task Manager interface and minimize the Task Manager window. (With inputs from: Techrepublic)