The Ultimate Guide to Windows 10 Task Manager

Windows Task Manager has come a long way. Introduced all the way back in Windows 9x, it is now a useful tool for any Windows 10 user. But what can it do and how can you use it to improve your experience?

What is Windows Task Manager?

Task Manager, as the name suggests, is used to manage only the tasks that the computer is performing at a given time. If a process did not close properly or got stuck, you can force it to stop using Task Manager.

These days, the Task Manager still keeps that job; however, it has also evolved into a system resource monitor. As such, you can search for untrustworthy processes and examine the health of your system all in one place.

How to open the task manager

Back in the days when task manager was fairly new, you had to access it through Ctrl + Alt + Of the, then clicking “Task Manager” from the full screen menu that appears. These days, you can still do it; however, there are faster ways to do the same job.

For example, if you press Ctrl + Offset + ESCyou can directly open the Task Manager. You can also right-click on the taskbar and select “Task Manager” here, or you can press To win + X and select “Task Manager” from the menu.

Finally, if you are not a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you can create one on the desktop. Right click on the desktop, hover over “New” and select “Shortcut”.

Shortcut to the task manager guide

In the window that appears, enter %windir%system32taskmgr.exe.

Location of the task manager guideLocation of the task manager guide

Click Next, then give the shortcut a memorable name – “Task Manager” works fine.

Name of the task manager guideName of the task manager guide

Click Finish and you will have an icon on your desktop for the Task Manager.

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Explore the task manager

Now that the Task Manager is open, let’s see what’s in it and how you can use it. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the Task Manager in its advanced view. To check which view your own manager is in, look at the bottom left. If it says “More details”, click it to display advanced settings.

Task Manager Guide More DetailsTask Manager Guide More Details

The Processes tab

When you start Task Manager, you are automatically on the Processes tab. From here you can see all the processes running on your computer.

Task Manager Guide ProcessTask Manager Guide Process

On the right, you can see the different columns representing each resource that the processes are using. These columns are useful if a process is exhausting a particular resource; just click on the name of the column you want to follow in order.

For example, if something is monopolizing your CPU, click on the CPU column to rank the processes by usage, with the biggest pig at the top.

Cpu task manager guide processCpu task manager guide process

If you don’t see the resource you want to sort on, right-click a column for more options.

Sorting Task Manager Guide ProcessesSorting Task Manager Guide Processes

If a process is taking up too many resources, right-click on it and select “End Task”. You can also select it and click on the “End task” button at the bottom right.

End of task manager guide processesEnd of task manager guide processes

You might also notice some useful tools in the context menu. For example, “Open File Location” is useful for locating where on your PC the process “lives”.

The Performance tab

In this tab, you can keep an eye on your PC’s “vital signs”. If your PC is starting to lag behind or you just want to see how much resource is being used, go to this tab to see the results.

Performance of the task manager guidePerformance of the task manager guide

You can click on each category for more information on that specific resource. Additionally, there is a link to the Resource Monitor at the bottom for other diagnostics.

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The Application History tab

The Application History contains information about the different Windows 10 store apps that you have installed on your system. If you don’t use Windows 10 Store apps often, you might miss this tab.

Task Manager Guide ApplicationsTask Manager Guide Applications

Like the Processes tab, you can sort apps by usage history for specific resources. Just click on the column header of the resource you want to check.

The Startup tab

Here you can see all the programs configured to start when you start Windows 10. You can also see their “Startup Impact” – this is how long the process delays starting your PC.

Starting the task manager guideStarting the task manager guide

If there are any programs here that you don’t want to start with your PC, click on them and select “Disable” at the bottom right.

The Users tab

If you have multiple users logged into the PC at the same time, each will take resources. This happens when you select “Switch user” instead of “Log off” when switching users.

Users of the task manager guideUsers of the task manager guide

If a user is monopolizing all the resources, you can click on it and click “Disconnect” to free up space.

The Details tab

Task Manager Guide DetailsTask Manager Guide Details

Here you can see all the processes on your computer. It’s a little different from the “Processes” tab, as it gives more details about each running process. You can still see which processes are using resources and stop them, but it gives a more in-depth view of what is happening at the process level.

The Services tab

Finally, we have the services tab. Services are a lot like processes, but they run in the background without you realizing it. These include the processes that keep your software up to date and essential operating system services.

Task Manager Guide ServicesTask Manager Guide Services

You cannot remove a service after it has started, but you can stop it. Right-click on a problematic service and click “Stop” to stop it. You can then restart it and see if it fixes the problem you are having.

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Facilitate task management

The Task Manager does what it claims to do and more. As an essential part of managing your Windows 10 PC, it’s worth learning what Task Manager can do for you.

What is the most useful thing about Task Manager for you? Let us know below.

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