Everything you always wanted to know about Task Manager but were afraid to ask

Does anyone remember the Task List from early versions of Windows?

From those humble beginnings comes my all time favorite windows applet, the venerable Task Manager. Task Manager was introduced with Windows NT 4.0, and although it has changed little in the intervening nine years, it hasn't needed to. Unlike virtually every other Windows OS applet of similar vintage** I still use it every day. That's a testament to how well Task Manager was originally designed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/09/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-task-manager-but-were-afraid-to-ask.html

Task Manager is great but I actually use Charmap more frequently, for special symbols (quotation marks) and foreign characters.


Ah: a href="http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000050.html"http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000050.html/a

You’re wrong on VM Size. It’s the total of all private (not shared) bytes allocated by this process, whether currently in physical memory or not. It’s a better value for tracking whether you have a memory leak than ‘Mem Usage’. The same value is available in Performance Monitor as ‘Process: Private Bytes’.

Looks like I need a memory upgrade :-/.

Total available: 1047548
Peak: 1119484

I use charmap a lot. Mainly due to the woeful inconsistency of the keyboard acrobatics required to add accents to characters. It seems to vary by configured input locale, application, machine, and phase of moon.

But I use task manager more. Not least because I always add a shortcut for it to my Startup programs on any Windows machine I use.

I use charmap a lot.

Who knew there were so many charmap lovers? I appreciate the need for a unicode browser, but charmap is such an incredibly crappy applet though.

I usually use the Word “Insert Symbol” dialog. Unlike charmap, it’s a sizable window (shock), and the default font is large enough to actually SEE the characters on a 1600x1200 panel…


Not only that, but this too:


Something related but still a little off topic. If you do hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and holt down Ctrl and press “Shutdown” to do an emergency shutdown.
It’s not very graceful, but it is fast

Learnt a few things about taskman there Jeff, thanks. I too place a shortcut to it in the startup of each machine I use for an extended period of time.

And, yep, charmap blows chunks. Thanks for the tip about words insert symbol. Lets see if I can remember that one :slight_smile:

In my experience, simply loading taskman spikes the CPU usage, it that correct? It always looks alarming for a split second there.

The processes tab + Google can tell you, in a rough way, whether everything running is something you actually want running. Of course, if a malicious program has hijacked a system process, that doesn’t help much. Still.

Stupid Taskman trick

Scenario: Explorer.exe crashed, you can’t see your taskbar or your desktop icons. No start menu, no systray, etc.

Solution: Run taskman! The keyboard-based options are what you’ll need here, ctrl-shift-esc is my favorite. Winkey+r;taskmgr isn’t an option because it’s tied to explorer.exe

-File-New Task

and that restarts the explorer process for you.

There may be a simpler way to do this that doesn’t involve logging out but I can’t think of one at the moment.

Oh, and for bonus points test my above tip by using taskman to kill the explorer.exe process first :slight_smile:

That’s what I get for posting before I had my coffee, Jeff posted the same tip I did in his original article :frowning:

For those who like charmap, but are frustrated by its limitations, a great (and free) replacement for charmap is Babelmap (a href="http://www.babelstone.co.uk/Software/BabelMap.html)."http://www.babelstone.co.uk/Software/BabelMap.html)./a

I was wondering if anyone of you guys could explain to me why my Network Utilization never goes past 5 percent. Cause I’ve never seen it go past that. Thanks

Hi, Can anyone help? Please!!!
When i try to access Task Manager, a dialogue box pops up telling me “Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator” :frowning:
But i am the administrator! Its my computer!
Can anyone tell me how to get Task Manager to work again?

Shaun D: I assume you have a 10/100t network card on your computer. You will very rarely use all that bandwidth, especially for an internet connection (which is a small fraction of the possible network bandwidth).

Richard: See if access has been revoked under the Local Security Policy under the Administrative Tools.

Hi. When i look at task manager on my SQL server i am getting a total commit and peak commit of about 1.4G after the machine has been on form about 4 hours. However when i count up the memory useage on the processes tab i am only getting about 400M. how can i see what is using the additional memory as regular reboots are needed at the moment to stop the server crashing

the performance graphs would be way more useful if they had time labels on the x axis so you could correlate spikes in the graphs with the times of other events on the machine. is there some way to display time labels like this?