Microsoft found that 85% of Task Manager use was to view and /or kill applications and processes.

This video provides a four minute brief on the new Windows 8 Task Manager


“…The value of the default view is all about what we took out. We removed everything not focused on the core task of killing apps, which makes the design focused and efficient.










“…A lot of what is new with Task Manager is shown only when you go to the “More details” view. This is the realm of the power user, so keep in mind that mainstream users may never want to get into this level of detail, and all of their needs should be met by the ”Fewer details” view above.

The Heat Map

“…The most noticeable difference in the new processes tab is the new heat map, which represents different values with color. Our telemetry data told us that it was very common for users to go to the process tab, sort by CPU or memory utilization, and then look for applications consuming more resources than expected.

“…One of the biggest causes of PC performance issues is resource contention. When a particular resource is being used at a rate above a threshold number, the column header will light up to draw your attention to it. Think of this as a warning indicator, letting you know a good place to start looking if you are experiencing performance issues. Below, you can see that the CPU column header is highlighted to draw your attention to the fact that you may have multiple applications competing for CPU time.

Details view of Task Manager Processes tab, showing one application at 94.2% CPU, another at 1.8% CPU, and the column header for CPU shaded a darker color to indicate that CPU is a “hot spot”

Figure 13: Resource usage indicators


“…Have you ever looked through the process list, seen something like “fussvc.exe” and wondered what it was? Adding friendly names was a good first step to resolving this problem (fusssvc.exe is actually the Fast User Switching Utility Service), but of course, to really find out what this process is, you need to search the web. The new Task Manager integrates a search context menu on right-click, so you can go directly to your default search engine (which you can customize) to see more details and relevant information. This can make a huge difference when deciding whether a background process is doing something useful or just wasting cycles.

Search the web for details on obscure processes
Figure 16: Search the web for details on obscure processes


“…If you open up Windows 7 Task Manager to the Processes tab and select “Show process from all users,” you will probably see eight seemingly identical instances of “svchost.exe”. This is one of the most commonly noted “not very informative” sources of information we provided. Of course, some of you know that this is really just a service host process and you can add the PID column, go to the services tab, sort by PID, see which services correlate to that PID, and then reverse-look-up friendly names for each of the services… but that is a lot of work (and not everybody knows this)! With the new Task Manager, we show all of the services grouped by process with friendly names for each of them, so you instantly can see what is going on when an instance of svchost is consuming a lot of resources:

Windows 8 Task Manager showing a list of several services under the parent process:“Service Host: Local Service”.

Figure 18: Service host grouping and details

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1 Comment

Windows 8 Support · November 29, 2011 at 1:20 am

Absolutely right.. Task Manager is one of the most widely used apps, and it has a long history.. The improvements won’t affect your average user but they do show that Microsoft is looking at every part of Windows 8 to truly “reimagine” its use across different scenarios..

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