Change the Data Shown by Processes Tab in the Windows 8 Task Manager

The new Task Manager gives you a lot of power when it comes to monitoring system resources. The Processes tab shares more information than ever before and even allows you to customize the interface to a point. You can choose what data is displayed and how it is displayed, ensuring that you always have what you need at a glance. Read on and we'll show you how to tweak the Processes tab, in Windows 8, so that it displays the data your are interested in, in a way that suits your needs better than the default view.

How to Add or Remove Data Columns in the Task Manager's Process Tab

You can pick and choose what information is displayed on the tab by right-clicking or long-pressing on an existing column header. Select a new item from the list to add a new column and display more information.

There are quite a few options for data columns. Here's a run-down of what they offer:

  • Type - Displays whether the process is an app, a background process or a Windows process. The Name column sorts by type by default, so as long as that is active, this data point is redundant.
  • Status - The status column displays whether or not a process is suspended. When something is suspended, it's running in the background, but it has no access to CPU cycles and uses very little memory.
  • Publisher - This displays the name of the process' publisher.
  • PID - This option displays Process Identifiers for each running process. These numbers can be used to match a running process to an error or event that lists the PID.
  • Process Name - The column displays the name of the process' executable. For example, for Google Chrome you would see chrome.exe.
  • Command Line - This displays the command line syntax run for each process. This lets you see if any programs have been launched with special parameters and also gives you an easy way to see the location of each process' executable on your hard drive.
  • CPU - This shows each process' CPU (processor) usage.
  • Memory - This shows each process' memory usage.
  • Disk - This shows each process' hard disk usage.
  • Network - This shows each process' network usage.

How to Change the Way Data Values are Displayed in the Process Tab

Not only can you change what data is displayed, you can also decide how some of it is displayed as well. For the Memory, Disk and Network columns you can choose whether to display the data using values - MB of memory, MB/s disk usage and Mbps network usage - or you can choose to display usage by a percentage of the total available resource.

Right-click or long-press a process of the Processes tab to open the context menu.

Select "Resource Values," choose one of the resources and then choose either "Percents" or "Values."

How to Change the Refresh Rate of Data Displayed by the Task Manager

You can also choose how often the Task Manager refreshes and displays new data. Click or tap "View," select "Update Speed" and make your selection.

The default "Normal" value will update your information about once per second. If you want it to update faster, you can select "High," but it will cause Task Manager to use more resources itself. Choose low for less system impact but less precise data.

How to Sort the Process Name's Column Alphabetically

By default, the Task Manager's Processes list is sorted logically by process type. This means that all apps, background processes and Windows 8 processes are grouped together and sorted within their group. While we're big fans of this new system, you may wish to return to the standard alphabetical system.

Click or tap "View" and deselect "Group by type."

Select it again to return to the new sorting method.

How to Hide the Process Status in the Windows 8 Task Manager

As we discussed above, you have the option to open a Status column that displays whether or not an application is suspended.

For some reason, you also have the option to hide suspended status entries. To do this, click or tap "View," select "Status values" and click or tap "Hide Suspended Status."

The status description is now hidden, but the suspended process is still listed. Keep in mind that this renders the Status column useless, so if you choose it, disable the column to save space.

How to Customize the Task Manager's Window Behavior

Now that you've tweaked how the tab is displayed, you can work with the way the entire Task Manager window behaves. Clicking or tapping the Options menu gives you three items you can customize. Select an option to place a checkmark next to it and enable it, deselect it to disable it.

  • Always on top- This option keeps the Task Manager on top of all other windows, regardless of where your focus is.
  • Minimize on use - This is an oddly named one. This option minimizes the Task Manager when you use it to switch to an open application, which can be done from the Compact View.
  • Hide when minimized - This option makes the Task Manager close when you minimize it. No icon will appear on your taskbar and you'll have to relaunch it to open it again.

Conclusion

The first time you open the Processes tab of the Windows 8 Task Manager, you'll have a wealth of information about your computer's resource consumption. While the default setup is good enough for most users, the ability to customize the data displayed and the measurement units used makes it a very powerful tool to have at your disposal. For more information about the Task Manager, take a look at the articles recommended below.