Task Manager in Vista

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to use Task Manager in Vista.

Prerequisites: you should know about Task Manager in general.

Key terms: task, manager, application, process, service, user, network, performance, information

Open Task Manager

In our case we will open Task Manager by right-clicking on Taskbar and selecting Task Manager option. There are 6 different tabs which we can use to check different things about our computer.

Applications Tab

In this tab we can see all opened applications which are shown on the Taskbar, with the exception of the Task Manager itself. In our case we only have Windows Media Player opened, so we only see one entry in the list. Notice the status of the application – it is ‘Running’.

Application Tab

Image 195.1 – Applications Tab

Each time we open an application we will get a new entry in the list of running applications. If our application is not responding, we can select it and then click the End Task button. We can also start new applications by clicking the New Task and entering the name of the program we want to run.

New Task

Image 195.2 – New Task

In our case we have entered ‘wmplayer’ which will open Windows Media Player.

Processes Tab

You will notice that there will always be many processes that are running even though we don’t have any application running and showing on the Taskbar.

Processes Tab

Image 195.3 – Processes Tab

For example, taskmgr.exe is the process associated with Task Manager itself, and wmplayer is the process of the application which we have previously open. In this tab we can see information about the running process such as the CPU percentage and the memory that it’s using. From here we can also end the process, for example if a process isn’t responding. We can do that by selecting the desired process and then pressing the End Process button.

Services Tab

The Services tab shows services on our computer.

Servicess Tab

Image 195.4 – Services Tab

For example, the DHCP is a service that registers and updates IP addresses and DNS records for our computer. If this service is stopped, this computer will not receive dynamic IP addresses and DNS updates. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Performance Tab

The Performance tab gives us a snapshot of information about our computer.

Performance Tab

Image 195.5 – Performance Tab

We can see a meter that shows us the percent of use of our CPU along with a graph. If we had multiple CPUs installed we would have multiple graphs. If we notice that the CPU usage is constantly high, we should reduce the amount of workload on our it. Here we also have information about how much system memory is currently being used, along with a graph that shows memory usage.

Networking Tab

The Networking tab shows us information about our network connection. In our case we are currently sending and receiving small amount of data over our network link.

Networking Tab

Image 195.6 – Networking Tab

Users Tab

The Users tab shows us the users who are currently connected to our computer. To disconnect or log off a user, simply right-click it and then select the appropriate option.

Users Tab

Image 195.7 – Users Tab


Using Task Manager we can close unresponsive applications, end processes, run and stop services, check computer performance, check network utilization, and see logged on users.