3 Ways to Become a Pro with Windows Task Manager

Speed, speed and more speed. Who can get enough of it?  Not us, so we devoted this week’s Clip of the Week to one of our favorite topics, Top 5 Ways to Speed Up Your System.  Not to be overlooked however is a 6th tool, one that many users know little about, the Windows Task Manager.  Let’s make you a pro with Windows Task Manager so you can optimize your computer with just a few clicks. 

Before we get to the tips, here’s a reminder on how to actually launch Task Manager in the first place. 

Press the following on your keyboard:  CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. 

Now that you have it up, let’s find out some great uses for it:

Understand your Processes 

When you first launch Task Manager it opens on the Applications tab.  This shows you the open windows you have running.  Click on the second tab Processes.  It should look like the picture below

Now select the Memory column heading once to sort the memory column from heaviest usage to least.  Now you have a good idea of what is taking up your memory and using the most of it.  Remember, these are not just applications, but processes related to applications that may not even be running in an open window.  If you see one you definitely don’t want or need running, right click it and select End Process.  If you don’t know what one of them is (and this happens a lot) just do a search in your favorite browser for this process name.  Understanding your processes a little bit better will help you control your system and keep it running at full speed.

Learn how to read the Performance Monitor

Still on the Task Manager, now click the Performance tab.  You will see several graphs churning out data for you to examine.  These show you the utilization of both your CPU (processor such as Intel I5 or AMD Athlon) and also your memory.  These are both hardware.  On these graphs, the lower the better.  So if you see that one of these is spiked, you can look back at the processes tab and hopefully identify which process is hogging the resource and slowing you down.

Read the Resource Monitor

For Windows 7 users, also on the Performance Tab is the Resource Monitor.  Click that to open the Resource Monitor.  This itemizes every process running through your CPU, Memory, Disk and Network down to a granular level and gives you a great looking set of data graphs on the right.  Do yourself a favor: Do nothing at first but watch the graphs.  After a few seconds, you should be able to spot trends in your system usage.  This will give you further clues about what is really running on your machine and if it is slowing you down.

Get going on these 3 tips and in no time you will be a pro with Windows Task Manager.

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

Categories: Follow-up Friday, Task Manager, Windows 7

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