Microsoft has significantly improved the Task Manager in Windows 10. The tool was always the standard tool of choice when it came to providing more speed and stability in the system with just a few clicks. The new version in Windows 10 offers more functions and a better overview: This makes the Task Manager an all-rounder that makes many additional tools superfluous. We therefore show you the best tricks for the Task Manager with which you can solve typical PC problems with just a few clicks, speed up the system and ensure more security. And if the Windows tool is also a good first go to place for everyday tasks: Sometimes you want a deeper look into the system. This is made possible by the professional tools that you will also find in this article.
Quit crashed or unstable programs
The problem: A program that you started has stopped responding. A Windows error message may appear, such as "No response". Or you want to close a tool by clicking on the cross at the top right, but nothing happens.
The solution: Open the Task Manager. You should now see the program process slowing down the system. Select this line and then click the "End task" button at the bottom right. Alternatively, right-click on the process name and select the “End task” entry from the context menu.
This works even if you have never opened the Task Manager before. However, in order to completely exhaust the Windows on-board resources, you should always activate the detailed view. To do this, click on "More details" at the bottom of the task manager.
Quitting a crashed program is especially difficult when it is running in full screen mode, obscuring the Task Manager. However, you can then use the key combination Ctrl-Alt-Del to open the lock screen, where you click on "Task Manager". The tool starts, but is still covered by the full screen. You can use the key combination Alt-Tab to check whether the Task Manager is actually running. Now press the Alt-O and then the Enter key. How to activate the "Always on top" command in the Task Manager. You should now be able to see it over the window of the crashed program.
In Windows 10 there is an even faster way: Use the Windows Tab key combination to open the "Virtual Desktops" function: Then click on the plus sign to set up a new desktop. You will see an empty desktop on which you can start the Task Manager as usual and exit the other program.
Find processes that are causing high CPU usage
Problem: The fan in your computer suddenly revs up audibly at irregular intervals. This happens with different programs. Solution: A process loads the processor so much that it generates more waste heat and thus causes the fan to rotate faster. Since this behavior does not seem to be related to the program you are currently using, you have to look in the Task Manager to see which tool is responsible for the high CPU load. To do this, open it - again with "More details" activated, of course - and click in the first column with the heading "CPU". The task manager then sorts the running processes according to the processor load: This is how you can see who is causing the noise at a glance - it is usually the antivirus program that starts a scan and thus puts a heavy load on the CPU.
Deactivate autostart entries so that the system starts faster
Problem: It takes a long time after the PC starts until you can access Windows and, for example, open a certain program. Before that, numerous other programs start automatically and nestle their symbols in the system tray. Often they also download and update themselves independently. Solution: When installing, many programs require that they can be started automatically with Windows. If you are not careful here, you will soon have a well-filled startup folder - apart from the fact that numerous tools connect to Windows start-up without being asked. The Task Manager shows you which programs start automatically. To do this, go to the "Autostart" tab. All entries with the status "Activated" belong to software that becomes active when the operating system is started. If you want to change this behavior, right-click the entry and select "Deactivate". In the "Startup Effect" column, the Task Manager shows how much the Autostart program affects Windows startup. Tools with the entry "High" slow down Windows the most.The operating system calculates this rating from the load on the CPU and hard drive or SSD that the program causes when it starts. You can display the specific values by right-clicking on the column heading and marking the values "Data carrier I / O at start" and "CPU at start".
The entry "Not measured" means that this program has just been defined as an autostart and that Windows is not yet able to make a corresponding assessment. Or that the tool to which the autostart relates has since been deleted.
By the way: Since Windows version 1709 (" Fall Creators Update ") you can also control the autostart via the settings in "Apps -> Autostart".
The reverse is also possible if you want to activate the autostart for a certain program. Find the program in the start menu and right-click on its icon, then on “More -› Open file storage location ”. An Explorer window with the link to the program opens. Now press the key combination Windows-R and enter shell: startup in the input line. The Windows autostart folder opens in another window. Copy the program link there. Now the program starts together with Windows.
Incidentally, at the top right you can see the information "Last BIOS time". However, this only relates to the time that the BIOS / Uefi needs to initialize the hardware, so it has nothing to do with the start time of Windows: Changes in the autostart settings have no effect.
Identify programs with high memory usage
Problem: You can still hear your hard drive working long after Windows has started. The system reacts slowly, programs start very slowly. Solution: As with the tip on the CPU load, you should first find out in the Task Manager which programs are causing the high hard disk load. In the “Processes” tab, click on the “Data carrier” column heading. Now you can possibly already identify the culprits: Backup or cleaning tools that start immediately after Windows start are often considered. With these you should switch off the autostart function as described. If the problem occurs when the system has been active for a long time, it may be due to insufficient RAM capacity: The operating system then has to load the required files from the hard disk into the main memory. The task manager reveals the status of your RAM expansion under "Performance -› RAM ": There you can see in the top right how much RAM is installed in the system. If you use an SSD and the data carrier load is constantly at 100 percent without you being able to identify a particular program as the cause, it may be due to the SATA driver. If the problem occurs with you, check in the Windows device manager whether the flash memory is connected via the standard AHCI driver: To do this, click on the entry "IDE ATA / ATAPI Controller" and then on "Driver - ›Driver details“. If you see the entry "storahci.sys", the system uses the standard driver.Whether the flash memory is connected via the standard AHCI driver: Click on the entry "IDE ATA / ATAPI Controller" and then on "Driver -> Driver details". If you see the entry "storahci.sys", the system uses the standard driver. Whether the flash memory is connected via the standard AHCI driver: To do this, click on the entry "IDE ATA / ATAPI Controller" and then on "Driver -> Driver details". If you see the entry "storahci.sys", the system uses the standard driver.
The high memory load is caused by an error in the so-called MSI mode (Message Signaled Interrupt). This can be switched off via a registry entry: The registry path that you need for this can also be found in the Device Manager: In the entry for the IDE controller, go to “Details” and select “Device instance path”. You have to remember the entry there. Then open the registry editor and navigate to the path HKEYLOCALMACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Enum \ PCI. Here you select the entry that corresponds to the path that is displayed in the Device Manager. Then click further in the registry editor to DeviceParameters \ InterruptManagement \ MessageSignaledInterruptProperties. Right double-click on the entry "MSISupported" and change the value to 0.Confirm with "OK" and restart the computer.
These processes are the most stressful of the system
Problem: It is not always just one tool that causes the high system load. The interaction of several programs or services can slow down the computer. You would like to find out which processes affect the PC the most.
Solution: You will find the "App History" tab in the Task Manager. It shows which programs, for example, use the CPU and network the most in a certain period of time.
To sort the processes, click on the corresponding column heading. You can also display additional data: Right-click on a column heading and select further categories to be displayed in the selection: For example, "Downloads" and "Uploads" are interesting - this way you can see who is particularly interested in online Bandwidth occupied.
In the basic setting, the Task Manager only shows this information for so-called UWP apps (Universal Windows Platform). These are programs specially programmed for Windows 10. But you can expand the display: Click on "Options -› Show history for all processes ". Then all programs are displayed, including system processes.
To reset the values, click on "Clear utilization history" in the top left.
Restart programs with the Task Manager
Problem: You are installing or updating a low-level program such as anti-virus or encryption software. To do this, the tool has to close Windows Explorer, which however does not restart by itself after the installation is complete, which makes the system virtually inoperable.
Solution: Since the taskbar and the start menu are not displayed without Explorer, you cannot start it again with a mouse click. In this case the Task Manager can help: call it up using one of the methods described in the box on page 63. Now click on “Data -› Execute new task ”. Now enter explorer.exe in the input field - Windows Explorer starts again.
Solve video playback problems
Problem: You are playing a 4K video from the hard drive. But the playback stutters, although your graphics card should easily cope with it.
Solution: Use the Task Manager to check which hardware is bearing the brunt of video playback. To do this, play the video and call up the "Performance" menu item in the Task Manager. If you click on CPU there on the left, you will see the processor load that is causing the video playback. This should be relatively low when the graphics card decrypts the 4K video data.
If, on the other hand, you see a clear deflection in the load diagram, the processor takes over this work. You can get more information by clicking on "GPU 0" on the left. What is important here is the information in the "Video Decode" window, which shows the GPU load. So that the GPU should now shoulder the video playback instead of the CPU, you have to activate the hardware acceleration in the playback program.