A comprehensive guide on Windows Task Manager for casual users
Task Manager is a built-in tool for the Windows operating system. It is built to, you guessed it, manage all the tasks that are currently running on your computer. The tool has numerous useful functions like managing which task is currently running, how much hardware space it is taking up, and turning off any running tasks that are not currently being used.
This tool is handy for any Windows user, from casuals to technical ones. This article will show the basic functions of Task Manager for casual users, and knowing how to use Task Manager properly will significantly improve your Windows experience.
From Windows 8 onwards, Microsoft has changed how Task Manager works, completely revamping its design and interface, making it a whole lot more user-friendly, displaying more information for the users to manage.
Turning on Task Manager
The most common way to open Task Manager is to right-click on your taskbar and click on Task Manager. While there is nothing wrong with this method, it is rather slow and can be a hassle sometimes having to move the mouse.
Another way is to use Ctrl + Alt + Delete key combination and then choose Task Manager.
The third way and my personal favorite is pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc, which immediately opens the Task Manager Window, which is incredibly fast and handy, only needing your keyboard.
How to use Task Manager
1. Processes tab
This tab shows a list of applications, software, system files currently running, and how many resources it is using.
Here, there are 3 columns you need to focus on: CPU, Memory, and Disk. If the numbers displayed on these columns remain low, your computer will run very smoothly. However (around 90% or greater), if the numbers get too high, your computer will start to slow down significantly, leading to lag and overheating of hardware.
If you see any task that you want to learn more about running on your computer, you can right-click it and choose Search online to search the software up on the internet.
If you want to shut down any task you do not want running, you can click on that task and then click End task. Just make sure that you know what the task does before messing with them, as ending the wrong task might cause various issues with other programs or even your whole system.
2. Performance tab
The performance tab displays details about how many resources are being used in the form of a line graph. Not only that, but this tab is also a quick way to see your computer’s IP address.
We will look through every part of the performance tab
- CPU: This tab will display, of course, the CPU usage – how much of your CPU is being used. But not only that, but it also displays information about your CPU like the CPU model, the number of cores, threads, the clock speed, how much time the CPU has been on for
- Memory: This tab displays the information about your RAM. The parts that casual users should focus on are the version of the RAM (DDR3, DDR 4), how much RAM you have, how much is being used, the RAM speed, the number of RAM slots on your motherboard which are currently being used, the amount of cached memory.
- Disk: This displays the information about your hard drive. If you have multiple hard drives, it will display as multiple Disk tabs. For normal users, you only need to focus on the model, the read/write time, and the capacity of the disks.
- Wifi: If you are using a Wifi connection, this tab will display as Wifi, but if you are using an Ethernet connection, it will display as Ethernet. Here, it will display your Adapter type, the name of the connection, your connection type, speed, and your IP address. Remember not to leak your IP address online as it can lead to data theft and your computer being hacked.
3. App history
Here you can view the history of resource usage of apps, not very useful for casual users.
4. Startup tab
This is a beneficial one. This tab allows you to control which application opens upon starting your computer. To control it, you click on the app and change it either to Enable or Disable. This is very convenient to disable applications that you don’t want to open on startup. Some software that has open on startup as its default setting include Discord, Skype, Steam, Spotify,…
5. Users tab
This tab controls the users on your computer. It is great for turning off more stubborn apps and changing users.
6. Details tab
This is an advanced menu for controlling applications. The most useful and most used function of this tab is to set priority to certain apps. For example, if you want a certain app, maybe a game or your editing software, to get prioritized by your hardware, giving it more resources to work with, you can right-click on it in this menu, hover over Set priority, and set it to whatever settings you feel suited.
Here you can open manage Services with ease. It is a common alternative to using the command services.msc
Personally, I do not find myself using this tab too much, but it is occasionally useful for running a certain service or vice versa when you want to disable one.
In this article, I have run you through the basics of Task Manager, what it can do, and what functions you should focus on as a casual user. But please note that this is only a comprehensive guide for normal users. There is so much more than Task Manager shows and is capable of doing. Still, these functions are rarely useful in normal use and only matters if you need to deeply manage your computer for data and server management, for example. I hope that this article has helped you get a basic grasp of Task Manager. If you have any questions, you can leave them down in the comments.