Article ID: 323527 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q323527
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Introduction

This article provides basic information about how to use Windows Task Manager to start programs, to end processes, and to monitor the computer's performance.

Note For information about how to troubleshoot when you receive an error message that Task Manager has been disabled by your Administrator, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
913623 Error message when you try to open Task Manager on a Windows XP-based computer: "Task Manager has been disabled by your Administrator"

For information about how to restore the Task Manager menu bar, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314227 Task Manager Menu Bar and tabs are not visible in Windows XP
This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.

MORE INFORMATION

You can use Task Manager to start programs, to start or to end processes, and to view a dynamic display of your computer's performance.

How to start Task Manager

To start Task Manager, take any of the following actions:
  • Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
  • Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.
  • Right-click an empty area of the taskbar, and then click Task Manager.

How to use Task Manager Help

Everything that you might want to know about Task Manager is included in the Task Manager Help file. Some of the help topics are intended for a general audience. Other topics are intended for a more advanced audience. To view the Task Manager Help file, follow these steps:
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager, click Help, and then click Task Manager Help Topics.
In the "Task Manager overview" topic, you can read about the features and uses of Task Manager by clicking the following topics and reading the topic and all related topics:
  • Programs that are running
  • Processes that are running
  • Performance measures

How to exit, switch to, or start a program

The Applications tab displays the status of the programs that are running on the computer. To exit, switch to, or start a program, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Applications tab.
  2. Do one of the following, as appropriate for the action that you want to perform:
    • Exit a program

      To exit a program, click the program that you want to exit, and then click End Task.

      Note When you exit a program in this manner, any unsaved data in that program is lost.
    • Switch to another program

      To switch to another program, click the program that you want to switch to, and then click Switch To.
    • Start a program

      To start a program, click New Task. In the Create New Task dialog box, click Browse, locate and select the program that you want to start, click Open, and then click OK.

      Note This procedure is very similar to starting a program by using the Run command on the Start menu.

How to end a process

The Processes tab displays information about the processes that are running on the computer. A process can be an application that you start or subsystems and services that are managed by the operating system. To end a process, follow these steps.

Note Proceed with caution when you end a process. If you exit a program in this manner, data that has not been saved will be lost. If you end a system process, a system component may no longer function correctly. To match a process with a running program, right-click the program name on the Applications tab of Windows Task Manager, and then click Go To Process.
  1. Click the Processes tab.
  2. Do one of the following, depending on the action that you want to perform:
    • If you want to end a single process, click the process that you want to end, and then click End Process.
    • If you want to end a process and all processes directly or indirectly related to it, right-click the process that you want to end, and then click End Process Tree.

How to monitor your computer's performance

Click the Performance tab to view a dynamic overview of the performance of your computer. This includes the following measures:
  • Graphs for CPU and memory usage
  • The total number of handles, threads, and processes that are running

    Handles are unique identifiers that allow a program to access system resources such as files, registry keys, fonts, and bitmaps. Threads are objects within processes that run program instructions.
  • The total number of kilobytes (KB) that are used for physical, kernel, and commit memory
Note Your system administrator may have implemented a local policy on your computer to disable Task Manager. In this scenario, you should contact the system administrator or your help desk if you need local process control or the ability to monitor the computer's performance.

REFERENCES

For more information about Task Manager, see Task Manager Help. To do this, start Task Manager, and then click Task Manager Help Topics on the Help menu.

Properties

Article ID: 323527 - Last Review: September 11, 2011 - Revision: 7.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
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