Windows Task Manager is one of the oldest and most useful applications of Microsoft systems. It is intended for medium-advanced or professional users who want to thoroughly control the operation of their computer. It is also suitable for solving some problems arising from its use. Microsoft renewed it extensively in Windows 10 with the addition of some functions. It also included a greater integration with the system kernel and main applications. This was completed in Windows 11 leaving us a fascinating tool once we know its capabilities. An ordinary user usually uses it only for its best known function, such as ending a frozen application. However, its uses go much further, as we are going to show you.
Access and uses of the Windows Task Manager
Accessing this tool is extremely simple. Moreover, it can be done in several ways, including the use of keyboard shortcuts. Let’s review them:
- Ctrl + Alt + Delete. This is the method that almost everyone knows. However, it is not the fastest because in Windows 11 it does not start directly. In addition, you will have to make an additional click to start it.
- Ctrl + Shift + Esc. More direct than the previous one. In fact, it launches immediately the task manager. It also has the advantage that because of the position of the keyboard, it can be run with only one hand.
- Taskbar. If you right-click with the mouse on the taskbar, there is an option to access the manager.
- Advanced user menu. Another quick access using the mouse. Right-click on the start button to access the advanced menu. There you will also find this Task Manager.
- Run. If you are used to using commands, press the keyboard shortcut Win + R and type taskmgr.
- Search. Just type task in the general search engine, and you will see the access to this tool.
As for functions, as we said, the best known is to end a frozen application. Simply open the manager. Then, right-click on the application and click on end task.
Check why the application is frozen
What is less known is a function called analyze. This can help identify the problem. It also avoids having to terminate the application by brute force. Remember that it can result in data loss. It is available in the details tab.
Performance and resources
This is where the Windows 11 task manager really shines. Not only does it provide an overview of all running processes and applications. In fact, it also has several tools to effectively monitor system performance and how resources are allocated. It includes a lot of information, from the resource monitor (RAM, processor, graphics cards…). These elements offer real-time data visualization; diagnostic information with logs that you can share for evaluations; network details and other resources of interest.
Restarting Windows Explorer
Sometimes parts of the operating system become unresponsive (taskbar, file explorer, Startup, etc.), while other applications continue to run correctly. Restarting the PC usually solves the problem. However, restarting the browser may be sufficient. The task manager has a special action for this. If you use it, it will end the task and restart automatically.
Windows application management
The task manager is far from being the best window management tool. However, it has a couple of actions that may come in handy. To access them, you have to click on the drop-down arrow next to the one you want to manage. The ones that work offer five actions, from bring to front, maximize, minimize or end the task.
Online search for suspicious processes
You may occasionally see unknown processes in the task manager. Most of them will be legitimate. However, if you don’t trust it, you can check by clicking on the suspicious process and activating the online search. This will launch a search in the browser with the name of the application. In addition, the search includes the name of the process. Consequently, it will help you determine whether it is safe or malicious.
Additional columns for more details
By default, the new Windows 11 Task Manager only displays five columns when listing processes. These are: Name, CPU, Memory, Memory, Disk and Network. These are actually the most important ones. However, you can add up to six more columns by simply right-clicking in the header area. All of them can be useful in the right situation. Particularly the process name because it makes it easier to detect suspicious applications by their process name.
Switches between values and percentages
When browsing the process list, the CPU column can show percentages. However, in the other three default columns you can change them to absolute values, more useful in some situations. Simply right-click on any process. Then go to the resources submenu and you can switch between them.
Discover the open application file
Sometimes it is complicated to know the installation location of a particular program. The file explorer is the general option. However, if the application is in use, from the task manager you can access it in record time. Simply click on any process and select open file location. This will take you directly to the folder containing the executable file of the process. Works for applications, background processes and Windows processes. Fast and convenient.
Start the command prompt directly
In the task manager, you can go to the File menu and select run a new task to launch the run dialog box. Most people who use this tool know this because it is one of the ways to manually restart a frozen browser in previous versions of Windows. What not everyone knows is that you can access the Windows console in the same way by simply holding down the Control key. Very useful.
Starting the System Configurator
In Windows 11, if you run the msconfig command to configure the system, you will see that the startup function has been moved to the task manager. This is the tool that allows us to configure the applications that will start at startup. The tool provides information on the impact of each application on system performance and allows you to disable them at startup. If your PC is slow to boot or runs slower than usual, disable all non-essential applications/services from startup.