A Diagnostics Tool

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Using Windows Task Manager to See a Computers Performance at a Glace.

Windows Task Manager is one of the better tools MS has came up with over the decades...
  • Do you use the Windows Task Manager or TM?
  • If you want to know why your computer slowed all the sudden what do you do?
  • When a program stops responding do you do the ctrl-alt-del and shut down the computer?
  • Restart it and hope for the best?
  • Or do you investigate why the computer's performance had suddenly dropped off?
  • Is it a virus? Has a program gone rogue and is using all the processor time and memory for itself?

One way to find out what is causing problems with your computer is with the built in tools that come with the Operating System.

With this Operating System one of the best tools is the TM.

It allows you to look at running programs, their processes, and their impact on the over all performance of the processor and memory.

You can do other things with the TM also, such as:

  • Monitor your Network performance.
  • See what services are running.
  • See what processes are using the most memory.
  • See what processes are using the most processor time.
  • Start a program with a run command (this is useful if by chance you happen to stop this program: explorer.exe)
  • You can forcibly shut down a process (program) if it stops responding (hangs) for a long period of time.

Note: The program explorer.exe runs your desktop, if you want to experiment you can stop the program with the TM and see what I mean, you will have a blank desktop, to shut the computer down gracefully use the ctrl-alt-del key press to get to the shutdown command...

By watching the CPU Usage and CPU Usage History you can tell if your computer is under stress by a program or process. Then by going to the Processes you can look in the CPU and Memory Usage columns to find the program or process that is using all the CPU time and memory.

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Once you have determined what is causing the high processor/memory usage you can right click on that process name and select 'End Process'. Normally I use the 'End Process Tree', this will end any associated driver or dll that the program uses.

One side effect of using the 'End Process Tree' is that if there is a driver being used it may turn off a hardware device, this could have a destabilizing effect on the Operating System, it may in some cases shut down the computer unexpectedly. (Hint: Save your work - if you have any - before using this option!)

Sometimes I find viruses by viewing the running processes.

When you are looking at the Windows Task Manager for the first couple of times just note the running programs, once you are familiar with the processes that are running when you see a process that is unfamiliar it will stick out.



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