Windows Task Manager Information
Finally, the Windows Task Manager is explained and an informative overview guide.
Most computer users quickly get to grips with the software and applications that are used on a regular basis. However there is one application included in every version Windows that many people over look, the Task Manager.
The Task Manager’s purpose in life is to provide computer performance information along with details about currently running programs and processes. It also provides the ability to monitor your network traffic if you are connected to a network.
Savvy computer users will know that a couple of quick short cuts can take you to the task manager; Ctrl + Alt + Delete and Ctrl + Shift + ESC. The task manager can usually be accessed even when other programs have crashed, enabling the user to quit an application or process, or shutdown the PC.
Once the task manger is open you will see four familiar drop-down menus; File, Options, View, Shut Down and Help. From these menus you can run programs, change the settings of the task manager or shut down the PC. Underneath the drop down menus are five tabs, it is here that displays what is running on the PC and how much CPU is being used. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on inside the four important tabs.
This is where any programs that are running will be listed. This should be first tab to visit if something crashes. Once an application is highlighted, the user can simply click ‘End Task’ to quit the program, 90% of the time this will close any problem programs. ‘Switch To’ simply brings the selected applications window to the front of the desktop and the ‘New Task’ tab gives the user the option of starting a new application. These options can also be accesses by right clicking on the specific task.
The Process tab gives more detailed information on every process running on the system; it shows the executable file running in Windows for both user and system processes. The ‘Image Name’ is the name of the process, ‘User Name’ shows whether it is a system or user process, ‘CPU’ is the percentage of the processor time that particular application is taking up, and ‘Mem Usage’ is how much of your computer’s memory is being taken up.
From here you can really kill any applications or processes that have crashed or are unusually eating up the PC’s CPU. If an application will not close using the ‘End Task’ option in the Applications tab, then the executable file can easily be ended here. Once the chosen .exe file is selected the ‘End Process’ tab will remove the process.
If you right click on a specific process you will see three more options.
End Process Tree – This basically means that if a process was started up by another other process, task manager will try to kill everything including the parent process.
Set Priority – Priority is exactly that: what kind of privilege do you want to give or take from a process. If you’re running something like an anti-virus scan, but hate the fact that it completely disables your ability to do anything else on the computer until the scan finishes, then you can reduce the priority given to the anti-virus software so that it doesn’t use up everything.
Set Affinity – You can also set the process to run one a particular CPU if you have more than one. Click on Set Affinity and you’ll get a dialog with 32 check boxes with everything disabled except for the number of processors on your computer.
Listed in the Processes you should find the â€˜System Idle Process’. The System Idle Process is a system process that runs when the computer processor is not being used. This should always be fairly high. You’ll notice that the processes keep shifting up and down, that’s because one becomes active and then might stop or another process does some work.
The Performance tab contains monitors displaying Physical Memory, Commit Charge, CPU Usage and Kernel Memory. Most users will have no idea what these mean so here’s a brief description of each:
CPU Usage is a graphical view of your current CPU usage. The reading will spike here and there, as programs open or momentarily work.
The next two graphs are referred to as ‘PF Usage’ and ‘Page File Usage History’; this is slightly misleading because it doesn’t actually refer to the amount of your page file being used, but is actually the commit charge.
The Total Commit Charge is a combination of the current amount of RAM (physical memory) and virtual memory being used. The Limit number underneath commit charge is the total of all your virtual memory and physical memory combined.Kernel memory is simply memory that is assigned to the operating system and that no one else can use. The sum of Paged and Nonpagedd equals the total. Paged means that some of the kernel memory is using virtual memory (the page file) and the rest is using physical memory (the RAM).
The Networking tab is fairly easy to understand: There is a graph for each type of network adapter on the computer; Ethernet, wireless and/or Bluetooth. At the bottom there is some basic information such as the adapter name, the network utilization, maximum link speed and current state.
This tab is very useful if, say, your connection to the Internet is slow or you are copying files between computers and it’s taking forever. For example, you can go to the Networking tab and if you see that your Local Area Connection is at 90% utilization, then you might have some kind of virus or spyware that’s eating up all your bandwidth. Utilization should be very low unless you are transferring or downloading large video or audio files.
So thats the basic overview of the Windows Task Manager, utilizing the task manager application properly can give you a much better idea of what’s going on inside the machine. Simple analysis of the task manager readings can help you figure out what problems need to be addressed or fixed.
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