Windows XP Task Manager

Windows XP Task Manager

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Windows XP Task Manager

 

 



In this article I am going to introduce you to some of the features of the Windows XP Task Manager.

Under Windows you can open many different programs at the same time.

This is called "multitasking" and it is a great feature of today's operating systems...

 

 

 



Windows XP Task Manager - How To Use It...

Depending on your age you might not actually remember the days when all you could do was use ONE program at a time - No, really there was a time! and it was called DOS...

So how do you keep track of all these programs running on your computer? Well Microsoft have given us the Windows XP Task Manager...

The name Task Manager is somewhat strange as there is no concept of a "task" in Windows. In reality it is a "process manager."

Note:- Now it is a very useful tool to have, but does lack additional functionality for "power users" that is contained in alternative programs like Process Explorer...

So lets take a look at some of the uses for Task Manager!

First of all lets open it up on your screen...

To do this simply click these 3 buttons together:

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

Now you should have the Windows XP Task Manager on your screen?


Windows XP Task Manager Basics...

OK, so what can we do with this system utility?

Well lets take a look at the following popular uses:

1) Killing an application...

2) Killing a process or application in the Processes tab...

3) Checking out the CPU usage...

4) Get out of trouble with by creating a new task...

5) Leave the Task Manager running in the system tray...


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1) Killing an application...

There are times when Windows XP will just cease to respond when you are using a program.

For instance you may be typing a document and MS Word just freezes. So how do you shut down the program when the mouse will not let you click the close button?

Well open up the Windows XP Task Manager and select the Applications Tab. Now look at the programs running and check the Status. In our example or MS Word freezing on you, you will more than likely see the Status for word as Not Responding.

If this is the case then click MS Word in the list and then click the End Task button at the bottom of the window.

The program that is Not Responding should now close. If not then repeat the process again.

This is a very handy remedy to "frozen" programs!


2) Killing a process or application in the Processes tab...

The Processes tab is very useful as it tells us what .exe's are running on your computer and how much CPU/memory they are consuming!

If you are trying to trouble shoot a program that has frozen and using the advice in the previous section has not helped. Then you can locate the program on the Processes tab and then click the End Process tab at the bottom of the window.

However, please be careful on what .exe's you terminate in this section... you would not want to throw your computer into a complete mess!


3) Checking out the CPU usage...

You can get a great idea of how things are performing on your computer by using Windows XP Task Manager.

Start up the task manager and then select the Performance Tab. Now you will see a graphical representation of the CPU and Memory usage.

This is useful if for instance your computer seems a little "sluggish". (Or running like treacle is another phrase.)

By looking at the data here you can see for instance is much of your memory being used. Or perhaps is the CPU running at 100% constantly.

The latter is a good indication that there is a problem with a program or process.

In this instance you can then look in the Processes tab and locate the offending .exe (see previous section.)


4) Get out of trouble with by creating a new task...

Now just "occasionally" you may end a process, or terminate a program, and then you lose everything! By this I mean you just have a desktop but NO task bar at the bottom of the screen and NO icon's on the desktop.

If this happens then start up the Windows XP Task Manager and select the Applications tab.

Now select the New Task button at the bottom of the window. A new smaller window will appear. In it simply type:

        explorer.exe

explorer.exe is the Windows Program Manager (or Windows Explorer.) It manages the Windows Graphical Shell including the Start menu, taskbar, desktop, and File Manager. By restarting this process the graphical interface for Windows will reappear.


5) Leave the Task Manager running in the system tray...

Sometimes I like to have the Windows XP Task Manager running in the system tray (the bottom right hand corner of your screen.)

This might be if I am running an application and I want to see how much CPU it is using on starting up and for how long.

Instead it will appear as a small icon in the system tray. When the CPU is busy you will see the icon change colour. By hovering over the icon with your cursor you will see the CPU percentage being used.

Now there are many more features of the Windows XP Task Manager. But these are some of the most useful tips I can share with you!

Windows Vista

Please note that under Windows Vista the Task Manager utility underwent some changes. For instance there is an additional step to opening it and a new "Services" tab to view and/or modify currently running services and start and stop any service as well as enable/disable the UAC file and registry virtualization of a process.

I hope this article on the Windows XP Task Manager utility was useful? 

 

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Marc Liron

Marc Liron - Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)
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Our 70-432 tutorials will provide complete information on some of the features of the Windows XP Task Manager. Download the E20-001 guide and 642-524 demos to learn how to keep you PC update.

 

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