Windows 8 Task Manager updates detailed

In all the previous versions of Windows, there have always been some kind of Task Manager which showed users what programs and processes were currently running on the operating system. A lot of users have accessed the Task Manager to close uncooperative programs. Today, the official Windows 8 blog goes into detail about how its version of the Task Manager will differ and improve from previous versions.

Written by Microsoft's Ryan Haveson, the blog entry first goes over what previous Task Manager users accessed the most. A whopping 85 percent all Task Manager users concentrated their activities on the applications and process tabs. By contrast, the services, programming, networking and users tabs are accessed just 15 percent of the time in Task Manager. In addition, the top user action in Task Manager is, not surprisingly, to shut down a process.

The default view of Windows 8's Task Manager, shown above, is usually how most mainstream users will see it, according to Haveson. He states, "For the default view, we designed a minimalist experience that appeals to the needs of the broadest customer base and most common scenario. When you launch Task Manager for the first time in Windows 8, you see a very clean view of your running apps. We made the default view great at one thing: killing misbehaving apps. And we removed everything that did not directly support that core scenario."

For the power user who wants more info about the programs and how they are running in Windows 8, hitting the "More Details" selection in the default view will bring up a host of options. As you can see above there are now "heat maps" that show by differences in color tone and by the numbers how much CPU power is being used by each program along with how much RAM, how much disk drive activity and how much network usage each program is accessing.

In addition to the features available for hardcore PC users, the new Windows 8 Task Manager tries to offer up more user friendly info about certain items. As Haveson writes, "Have you ever looked through the process list, seen something like "fussvc.exe" and wondered what it was? Adding friendly names was a good first step to resolving this problem (fusssvc.exe is actually the Fast User Switching Utility Service), but of course, to really find out what this process is, you need to search the web. The new Task Manager integrates a search context menu on right-click, so you can go directly to your default search engine (which you can customize) to see more details and relevant information. This can make a huge difference when deciding whether a background process is doing something useful or just wasting cycles."

Image via Microsoft

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38 Comments

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n_K said,
Holy **** I didn't relise we were going back to windows 98, how stupid.

Did you even look at the 2nd picture?

Nice improvements but instead of rewriting from scratch or overhauling or whatever theyt call it, they should have improved upon the existing one like Vista/7 did. They have broken MANY MANY existing features of the old Task Manager, some of which are likely to passed off as "by design features". See http://bit.ly/nNqWUb.

xpclient said,
Nice improvements but instead of rewriting from scratch or overhauling or whatever theyt call it, they should have improved upon the existing one like Vista/7 did. They have broken MANY MANY existing features of the old Task Manager, some of which are likely to passed off as "by design features". See http://bit.ly/nNqWUb.

You really spend too much time complaining about useless features going missing.

Very well done. I hope that Microsoft will have more of these types of blogs, including videos, showing how Windows-8 will be helping keyboard intensive users. There has been way too much emphasis on "tiles for tables."

Am I the only one who thinks that the first image looks similar to the "task manager" in Mac OS X Tiger/ Snow Leopard? (I know that Mac doesn't have Task Manager, I forget the name of similar thing under the Apple logo menu which you can use it to kill apps too... But that thing on Mac always doesn't work for me, I usually open terminal and issue kill command to kill process.)

GraphiteCube said,
Am I the only one who thinks that the first image looks similar to the "task manager" in Mac OS X Tiger/ Snow Leopard? (I know that Mac doesn't have Task Manager, I forget the name of similar thing under the Apple logo menu which you can use it to kill apps too... But that thing on Mac always doesn't work for me, I usually open terminal and issue kill command to kill process.)

Oh it is called Force kill. I haven't use Lion so I don't know if it is removed now.

They should better add the possibility to open the taskmanager always to kill hanging apps.
If e.g. Chrome hangs, the taskmanager is useless, because I can't open it.

Lastwebpage said,
They should better add the possibility to open the taskmanager always to kill hanging apps.
If e.g. Chrome hangs, the taskmanager is useless, because I can't open it.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this comment. Chrome hangs all the time for me and I use Task Manager no problem...

M_Lyons10 said,

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this comment. Chrome hangs all the time for me and I use Task Manager no problem...

In this case you have luck, I can't. Neither with a rightclick on teh taskbar nor CTRL+SHIFT+ESC. After click 100 times on the "X" within chrome, maybe it close sometimes. But open the taskmanager? Not possible...

I saw that and all I could think was... Why is Microsoft Sync Center still there? I can't think of ANYTHING that uses that functionality!

It was hailed as a replacement to ActiveSync for Windows Mobile PDAs, but never happened (those used Microsoft Device Center) and the newer Windows Phone 7 uses Zune.

Why is that process there any why is it running when nothing uses it?

Frazell Thomas said,
I saw that and all I could think was... Why is Microsoft Sync Center still there? I can't think of ANYTHING that uses that functionality!

It was hailed as a replacement to ActiveSync for Windows Mobile PDAs, but never happened (those used Microsoft Device Center) and the newer Windows Phone 7 uses Zune.

Why is that process there any why is it running when nothing uses it?

Something probably uses it. It is available on Win 7 (integrated actually), so that may be the case with Win 8 too.

Frazell Thomas said,
I saw that and all I could think was... Why is Microsoft Sync Center still there? I can't think of ANYTHING that uses that functionality!

It was hailed as a replacement to ActiveSync for Windows Mobile PDAs, but never happened (those used Microsoft Device Center) and the newer Windows Phone 7 uses Zune.

Why is that process there any why is it running when nothing uses it?

Sync Center is no longer supposed to be a device hub. It's intended for syncing with a server but device manufacturers can plug into it instead of writing their own.

http://windows.microsoft.com/e...-frequently-asked-questions

no mention of the other tabs

new taskmanager is awesome. startup tab is really nice for the people that dont know about msconfig

ShareShiz said,
no mention of the other tabs

new taskmanager is awesome. startup tab is really nice for the people that dont know about msconfig

Youre not supposed to use msconfig to disable startup items permanently anyway.

Looks rather impressive, although the system overall had better be such that you won't need to open the Task Manager often

Avlor said,
Looks rather impressive, although the system overall had better be such that you won't need to open the Task Manager often

I hope not too. But it's nice to know it's there for when you do need it.

Arceles said,
A nice revamp

Absolutely. I love the new features and the friendly names and everything. Really great job Microsoft.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
Right click to search is an amazing idea, will save a lot of time. Sounds like they've really researched what users do with win8

One place Microsoft gain this sort of insight is from customers who opt-in the 'customer experience improvement program' for their various products.

It pays to have the software tell MS how you're using it!!!!

dotf said,

One place Microsoft gain this sort of insight is from customers who opt-in the 'customer experience improvement program' for their various products.

It pays to have the software tell MS how you're using it!!!!

I've always allowed that so perhaps I've contributed to the feature being implemented!

Hardcore Til I Die said,
Right click to search is an amazing idea, will save a lot of time. Sounds like they've really researched what users do with win8

Yeah. I really like that feature.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

I've always allowed that so perhaps I've contributed to the feature being implemented!

No, you contributed only to ****ty features.

kavazovangel said,
They should really integrate most features of Process Explorer and Process Monitor into it.

Those are power-user tools. They would only confuse normal users.

However, it would be a good idea to bundle them with Windows. If every copy of Windows can come with robocopy (which is also a power-user tool), then there's no reason not to bundle ProcExp or ProcMon.

I love the colorings, additional information per application and simplification of it in general, yet they still retain the ability to get stats that you sometimes want. Awesome.