Windows 8 Explorer : Diagnosis and Recovery - The Processes Tab

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In the Compact view, Task Manager doesn’t display much detail—it doesn’t even show you tile-based programs that are in use. But Task Manager is a very rich diagnostic tool. Among its best uses are determining which programs are resource hogs, figuring out what’s running on your system, and learning about how well your components are being used. You can do all these things through the Processes tab in Task Manager’s Detailed view.

The standout feature of the Processes tab is the “heat map.” Task Manager color-codes applications and processes to represent low to high usage rates. The colors make it very easy to spot which applications or processes are making your system sluggish. Task Manager uses a set of small programs, called “counters,” that count various aspects of system performance. This data is collected and reported in the Processes tab.

While it is generally safe to terminate a program, terminating background processes and some services can cause your computer to malfunction. That’s why Windows 8 includes tools to view properties and search for a name using your browser. These tools can help you determine whether it is safe to end a process.

Microsoft has put a lot of effort into changing the arcane programmer-type names in Task Manager into friendly names. So you now see “Print driver host for applications,” whereas in Windows 7 you would have seen splwow64.exe.

To open Task Manager’s Detailed view

Open Task Manager, and click the More Details button at the bottom of the window .


 Task Manager’s Processes tab displays a “heat map” that shows which applications are using the most resources.

The Detailed view groups windows under their application . And where you once saw “Synchost” in multiple listings, now Task Manager groups the Service Host processes into logical groupings and lists the services by their friendly names .


 Task Manager groups application windows.


 The enigmatic “Synchost” is finally revealed using friendly names, a commonsense new feature of the Windows 8 Task Manager.


In the Processes, App History, Startup, Users, Details, and Services tabs, you can click the column headers to sort the display by that item.

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