How To Add Information To The Windows Task Manager

Date 5/4/2013
The Windows Task Manager provides much information about the current state of the operating system. It can display running processes, applications, services, PC performance graphs, network adapters and connected users. Although the Task manager does not display as much information as advanced third party tools such as Process Explorer, it is usually sufficient for basic tasks and a first overview of what is running on the computer system.

Many Windows users do not know that it is possible to display additional information in the Windows Task Manager. The following guide gives an overview on how to enable the display of additional information in the Windows Task Manager.

Loading the Windows Task Manager

The keyboard shortcut to load the Windows Task Manager is [Ctrl][Shift][Esc]. The task manager can also be loaded by right-clicking the Windows Taskbar and selecting Start Task Manager from the menu.

Windows Processes

Although it is not the left-most tab, the Processes tab is the default tab activated when opening the Task Manager. The Processes tab provides detailed information on running processes, such as CPU and memory usage, PID and user rights, and in newer Windows versions includes a short human-readable description of the process. By default the display is filtered, a click on the button labelled "Show processes from all users" will display all running processes.

A click on View > Select Columns opens a configuration menu to add columns to the display. Most of the additional information that can be enabled in this menu is intended for developers and administrators, but end users may find it helpful as well. For instance, it is possible to display the path of running processes, which can be very helpful to identify the program that has started the process.

The Memory Peak Working Set column is another interesting column that can be enabled. It displays the maximum amount of computer memory of each process in the task manager. The configuration menu can also be used to remove columns from the display in case they are not needed or used. A recommended setting is to keep all columns that are activated by default and add the Image Path Name and Memory - Peak Working Set columns.


The Networking tab displays information about each network adapter. Most Windows users will not see much information, if any at all, when they open the tab in the Windows Task Manager. Like the Processes tab, the Networking tab can be configured to display additional information by clicking on View > Select Columns.

In addition to the total amount of data transfer, separate graphs representing Bytes Sent and Bytes Received can be enabled. The network traffic will be monitored and displayed once the selections have been made.

These just two examples of Windows Task Manager tabs that can be configured to display additional information. The rest of the Task Manager can be similarly configured as well. End users will especially benefit from the additional information in the Processes tab. What other Task Manager configuration tips do you have? Let us know in the comments.

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