Managing Running Programs and Processes with Windows Task Manager

Windows Task Manager is a tool that serves two essential purposes . You can use it to track aspects of your system's performance, and you can use it to see what programs and processes are running and terminate items when the normal shutdown methods aren't working

For information about using Windows Task Manager to monitor system performance, see "Monitoring Performance in Real Time" on page 710 .

The easiest way to run Windows Task Manager is by means of its keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Figure 5-9 shows the Applications tab and Processes tab of Windows Task Manager

Windows Task Manager

File Options View Window

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Applications | Processes | Services | Performance | Netirrorfang | Users']

Task.

Status

H Calculator

Running

^.Microsoft Word Viewer

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Running

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Running

t Sticky Notes

Running

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Running

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Running

Proce::e::36 CPU Usage 0% Physical Memory: 38%

Proce::e::36 CPU Usage 0% Physical Memory: 38%

SE Win dows Task Mrrnrrger ^

File Options View Help

I Appfafaons | Ftotgsses [servîtes | Performance | NlL."uiIjiil | Users

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File Options View Help

I Appfafaons | Ftotgsses [servîtes | Performance | NlL."uiIjiil | Users

Image Name

User Name

CPU

Memory ,,

Description

calc.exe

Craig

00

4,752 K

Windows...

csrss.exe

00

872 K

dwm.exe

Craig

00

292 K

Desktop ,..

explorer.exe

Craig

00

13,772 K

Windows ...

iexplore.exe

Craig

00

^ 15,903 K

Internet,,,

iexplore.exe

Craig

00

4,500 K

Internet,,,

mspaint.exe

Craig

00

4,740 K

Paint

notepad.exe

Craig

00

788 K

Notepad

Solitaire.exe

Craig

00

33,276 K

Executable,

StikyNot.exe

Craig

00

2,604 K

Sticky Notes

taskhost.exe

Craig

00

1,272K

HostProc...

taskmgr.exe

Craig

01

2,108 K

Windows ...

winlogon.exe

00

144 K

WORDVIEW, EXE

Craig

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3,436 K

Microsoft,,,

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es from all us

End Process

Pro cesse: 36 CPU Usage: 0% Physical Memory 37%

Pro cesse: 36 CPU Usage: 0% Physical Memory 37%

Figure 5-9 Windows Task Manager is useful for terminating recalcitrant applications and processes, as well as for monitoring system performance .

In Windows Task Manager, the Applications tab lists all running programs that have corresponding taskbar buttons . Each entry in the Task column consists of descriptive text identical to the text displayed in the program's title bar.

The Applications tab also includes a Status column . Most of the time, the entries in this list will read Running. If an application hangs or freezes for any reason, you will see the words Not Responding in this column instead. In that case, you can attempt to shut down the misbehaving program by selecting its entry and clicking End Task. Don't be too quick on the trigger, however; Not Responding doesn't necessarily mean that an application is irredeemably lost. If the program is using every bit of resources to handle a different task, it might simply be too busy to communicate with Windows Task Manager. Before you decide to end the program, give it a chance to finish whatever it's doing. How long should you wait? That depends on the task. If the operation involves a large data file (performing a global search and replace in a large Microsoft Access database, for instance), it's appropriate to wait several minutes, especially if you can hear the hard disk chattering or see the disk activity light flickering. But if the task in question normally completes in a few seconds, you needn't wait more than a minute.

The items listed on the Applications tab represent only a portion of the total number of programs and services running on a Windows computer at any given time. To see the entire list of running processes and gain access to a broader selection of tools for managing them, click the Processes tab .

Note

To find out what process is associated with a given application, right-click the application on the Applications tab, and choose Go To Process from the shortcut menu.

Initially, the Processes tab lists programs and services that are directly accessible to the current user To see everything, including processes running under system accounts and the accounts of other logged-on users (if you use Fast User Switching), click Show Processes From All Users

For each process, Windows Task Manager includes the following information by default: Image Name (the name of the process), User Name (which user started the process), CPU (the percentage of the CPU's capacity that the process is currently using), Memory (Private Working Set) (the amount of memory the process requires to perform its regular functions), and Description (a text field identifying the process). To display additional information for each process, open the View menu and choose Select Columns .

If you need to shut down a process, select it and click End Process .

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