Tech Tips / Windows XP / Performance Monitoring and Optimization

Changes to Task Manager in Windows XP

Microsoft made minor improvements to the Task Manager in Windows XP. When you run it (the simplest way is to press [Ctrl][Shift][Esc]), you'll see five tabs.

The first three will be familiar to Windows NT/2000 users. The other two are new to Windows XP.

The Applications tab lists all applications you are currently running. Use this tab to end running applications, to switch between them, or to run new ones. The Processes tab displays more detailed information about the processes that are running on your system. It displays the name of the executable, the user account under which the process is running, the CPU usage, and the amount of memory the process is using. You also have the option to end running processes on this tab. The Performance tab displays the graphs for CPU and memory usage and some additional counters, such as the amount of memory allocated to the system cache, the total amount of memory used by the kernel, and so on.

The Networking and Users tabs are new to Windows XP. By default, the Networking tab displays the network utilization graph for your network adapters. You can add additional counters on this tab by selecting the Select Columns option on the View menu. You can set additional options on the Options menu. The Users tab lists all users currently logged on to your computer (either locally or through Remote Desktop). You can send users messages and, if you have the proper permissions, you can also disconnect them or log them off. When you disconnect someone, his or her programs continue running on your machine. When you log someone off, his or her programs are closed, and the session is disconnected.

Notice also that the Shut Down menu in Task Manager performs the same tasks as the Start menu. You can shut the machine down, log off, put the computer into hibernation or standby, restart the computer, or switch the user.

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