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How to Use the Windows 8 Task Manager

All about the Windows 8 Task Manager

The Task Manager is the window that lets you manage open applications, check out CPU and memory usage, and so on. This is one feature that’s radically revamped in Windows 8 to make it way more useful than it was in the past.

Reaching the Task Manager is the same in Windows 8 as in previous versions:

To reach the Windows 8 Task Manager:

    • Press Control + Alt + Delete and click Task Manager
    • Click More Details


  • Press Control + Shift + Esc
  • Click More Details

The second method is faster, so it’s worthwhile to memorize the keyboard shortcut.

Once you’re in the new Windows 8  Task Manager, you’ll notice that it looks very different than before. You start out in the Processes tab, and you can see at a glance how much CPU is being used, how much memory is being used, and so on. You can easily click on a task and click End Task.

The processes tab shows CPU and memory usage at a glance.
Click over to the Performance tab, and you’ll see a series of colorful graphs that you can click through that show usage over time, even before you opened Task Manager. This is all really useful information, especially if you suspect you’re running out of memory or you’re maxing out the CPU.

These clear graphs show usage over time.
Next is the App History tab. New to Windows 8, this shows how much time a specific application has been using the CPU and using data. The data column is especially important if you’re on a metered data plan (especially if Windows doesn’t know to put this data in the Metered Network column).

Note that only Metro applications (ones with tiles on the Start Screen) will appear in this tab.

These are ghost icons that don’t do anything yet.
Also new to the Windows 8 Task Manager is the Startup tab. Before Windows 8, managing startup apps was buried in another, not easily accessible application called msconfig. Now, you can manage startup apps right from Task Manager. If you’d like to stop an app from launching when Windows launches, just click on it and click Disable.

Disable startup apps easily from this tab.
There are other tabs in Task Manager useful for managing users and disabling individual tasks and services.

As you can see, the Task Manager is much more use friendly and feature rich than previous versions of Windows.

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