Less Known Tricks about Using the Task Manager in Windows 7

We would like to finish our coverage of the Task Manager in Windows 7 with an article showing some advanced tricks about how it can be used. The article will include: how to manage active services, identify the processes used by a service, view data about your system’s resource usage or your network utilization and how to manage other active users on your computer.

NOTE: We recommend that you first read our previous article on the Task Manager and then resume reading this article. This way you will get a complete understanding of the tool and its capabilities. The first article is found here: The Basics About the Task Manager: View, Run or End Applications and Processes.

Managing Active Services with the Task Manager

The Services tab is mostly ignored by users, even though it can be useful. Here you can view the services installed on your Windows computer. For each service, you can view its name, the PID (Process ID - ID of the process used by the service), its description, status and the group to which it belongs. The Services button found on the bottom right of the tab opens the Services panel covered in this tutorial: What Are Windows Services, What They Do & How To Manage Them.

When you right click on a service, you can start it or stop it, depending on its current status and choose Go to Process. I find this third option very useful when I want to find out what process is used by a service and learn about the resource consumption of that process.

A click on Go to Process will open the Processes tab and take you to the process with the ID mentioned in the PID column. In the Processes tab you can view how much CPU or memory it uses and learn about its impact on your system’s performance.

From the Task Manager you can start and stop most services. However, for some, you will encounter errors saying that the operation could not be completed. These services are best managed from the Services panel.

Don’t hesitate to read this tutorial to learn how to use it: What Are Windows Services, What They Do & How To Manage Them.

View A Summary of Your System’s Performance with the Task Manager

In the Performance tab you can view a quick summary on how your processor (CPU) and memory are used. First, you have graphs for the CPU usage, followed by the memory usage over time.

Below the graphs, there are statistics about the use of your Physical Memory (the actual RAM) and your Kernel Memory (how much of it is paged - using the Virtual Memory file on your hard disk - and how much is not).

Last but not least, the System section provides a brief overview on how many processes, handles and threads are running, for how long the system has been up and how much memory is used (the data includes your physical RAM and the virtual memory).

Pressing the Resource Monitor button takes you to the Resource Monitor tool we covered in this tutorial: How to use the Resource Monitor in Windows 7.

Using the View menu you can customize some of the data being shown in this tab.

For example, you can set it to view the CPU history for each core of your processor or for all cores in one graph.

View the Network Utilization with the Task Manager

In the Networking graph you can view a simple graph of the utilization of your network connection. If you have used it just to browse the web, there won’t be much data being shown. However, when you copy files over the network, the graph will become populated with more interesting data.

Using the View menu, you can customize the data shown in the graph, so that it displays the bytes sent, received or their total.

Manage Active Users & Communicated with Them via the Task Manager

The last tab - Users - is the least used. There you can see data about the user accounts that are active on your computer. Since, in most cases only one user account is logged in, there's not much to see and do.

However, when more than one user account are active, if you are logged in as an admin, you can manage the other accounts and disconnect them or set them to log off.

A cool little option is to send a message to other user accounts. Select the user you want to communicate with, press Send Message and type the message you want to send.

The other user account will receive the message via window similar to the one below.

Conclusion

As you have seen from this tutorial and our previous one, the Task Manager is a powerful tool which allows you to get a good picture on the functioning of your computer. If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to ask via the comments form below.