A Quick Start Guide To Windows Task Manager

Windows Task Manager is a powerful tool that allows you to monitor and manage various aspects of your computer’s performance. It provides valuable information about running processes, system resource usage, and can help you diagnose and troubleshoot issues. Below is a quick start guide that anyone can use to get the most out of the Windows Task Manager.

For most, Ctrl+ Alt + Delete is the known button combination used to open the Task Manager. But there are a few more direct ways to open the Task Manager on Windows 10 & 11 devices. The quickest way is by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard, this shortcut will directly open Task Manager.

Alternatively, you can right-click on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen or press the Windows key + X and select Task Manager from the context menus.


When you first launch Task Manager, a small window will open displaying a list of applications currently running on your device. From this screen you force close apps, but you will need to click the more details option at the bottom of the window to see the additional tabs and wealth of insights they provide into your computer.

Processes: The “Processes” tab displays a list of all running processes on your computer. You can see the names of the processes, their CPU and memory usage, and more. This tab is useful for identifying resource-intensive applications or terminating unresponsive programs.

Performance: The “Performance” tab provides a graphical representation of your computer’s CPU, memory, disk, and network usage. It allows you to monitor resource consumption in real-time, which can help you identify bottlenecks or performance issues.

App History: The “App History” tab displays resource usage information for specific Windows Store apps. It can help you determine which apps consume the most resources over a 30 day period.

Startup: The “Startup” tab lists the applications and processes that are configured to launch when your computer starts. You can enable or disable startup programs to optimize system boot time. Anything you don’t need to open automatically should be set to disabled.

Users: The “Users” tab shows the active user sessions on your computer. It displays resource usage for each user and allows you to log off or disconnect users if necessary.

Details: The “Details” tab provides a more detailed view of running processes, including their process IDs (PIDs), CPU usage, memory consumption, and other relevant information. You can sort the processes by different columns and end specific processes if needed.

Services: The “Services” tab lists the services running on your computer. Services are background processes that support various system features and applications. Here, you can start, stop, or restart services when troubleshooting.

It is important to remember that Windows Task Manager is a powerful tool, so use it with caution. Terminating critical system processes or services can cause system instability or data loss. It is always best to consult with your IT department if you are ever in doubt while troubleshooting.

Ending Unresponsive Programs: If an application becomes unresponsive or freezes, you can use Task Manager to force it to close. Switch to the “Processes” or “Details” tab, find the problematic process, right-click on it, and select End Task.

Monitoring CPU or Memory Usage: If your computer is running slow or experiencing high resource usage, use the “Processes” or “Details” tab to identify the application or process responsible. Sort the list by CPU or memory usage to find the culprits, and consider closing or troubleshooting them.

Checking Startup Impact: In the “Startup” tab, you can identify programs that impact your system’s startup time. Disable unnecessary or resource-intensive startup programs to improve boot speed.

Analyzing Performance: The “Performance” tab provides real-time insights into your computer’s resource usage. Monitor the graphs to detect abnormal spikes or sustained high usage, which can indicate performance issues. Unusual behavior should be investigated further or brought to the attention of your IT department.


We hope this guide will assist you in troubleshooting your next computer issue. If you are aren’t the DIY type and are looking for an IT provider for your organization, reach out to us today to see how The Purple Guys can support your people, secure your network, and help you scale & grow your business.


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