Use Task Manager hidden features in Windows

Get to know the new Task Manager in Windows 10

Windows 8 and 10 introduced a new version of Task Manager and it has some new and hidden features that you may not have discovered. They can be very useful for analysing performance and fixing problems.

Task Manager

To start Task Manager, right click an empty part of the taskbar and select Task Manager from the menu that is displayed. If Windows has frozen and you cannot do this, press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select it on the screen that appears.

Select the Processes tab. Click any column heading to sort the processes (these are programs that are running) into ascending or descending order (click once to sort, click again to reverse the sort).

 Windows Task Manager

Right click any heading and you can add columns, such as Status, Process name and others. Try adding them if they are not already visible. The process name is the filename.

 Windows Task Manager

What is the Status? This is used with Start screen apps – those that you get from the Windows Store. If you run an app and then quit, it remains suspended in memory. Try opening and closing some apps, return to Task Manager, go to the View menu and select Status Values, Show suspended status. You will see those apps you quit are still in memory, but are suspended.

Select the Performance tab to see the CPU, memory, disk and networking usage. Select CPU and a live scrolling chart shows how hard the processor is working over time. Modern processors have multiple cores and each core can act as two virtual CPUs. You can see how hard each of these is working by right clicking the chart and selecting Change graph to, Logical processors.

 Windows Task Manager

This is showing an Intel Core i7, which has four real cores and eight virtual cores. A separate live chart is displayed for each one. It is idling in this screen shot, but the charts spike when there is a heavy work load.

 Windows Task Manager

There is another hidden feature in the WiFi chart. Click WiFi on the left and then right click the chart on the right and select View network details.

  Windows Task Manager

A new window opens that has lots of interesting information, such as the link speed, bytes sent and received, network utilisation and much more.

 Windows Task Manager

Close the Network Details window to return to Task Manager and select the App History tab. This shows how much time you have spent running Start screen apps. Click a column heading to sort the apps by that column ascending and click again for descending. Right click any of the headers and you can choose which columns to display.

 Windows Task Manager

The Downloads column looks like it might be interesting, but it does not show much on my computer. I have downloaded some big games from the Store, yet the Store app says there has been 0.1MB downloads. That is strange.

Go to the Options menu and select Show history for all processes. I am still not sure those download figures are right, but at least they are showing something. It may just be my computer, so see what yours says.

 task-manager-8

Select the Start-up tab and you can see the applications that are loaded automatically when Windows starts. Right click any of the column headers and make sure that CPU at start-up is ticked. This adds a column that shows how many milliseconds each start-up item took. Click the column header to sort them into order.

 Windows Task Manager

Here you can see that iCloud Drive, Skype and Google Drive all took over 2.5 seconds (1,000 ms is one second) on startup. These are clearly very slow to start and they cause the computer to boot up more slowly than it otherwise would.

Did you know all those features in Windows Task Manager? Are there any that have been missed?


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