This document provides basic information about how to use Windows Task Manager to start programs, to end processes, and to monitor the computer's performance.
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.
To start Task Manager, take any of the following actions:
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:
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:
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
This document was adapted from the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 323527.