Task Manager woes?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Gail from Houston writes:

" Dennis, I *love* your newsletter! Thanks so much for doing it! I am having trouble with my printer. The more programs that are open, the slower my printer runs. I've pressed CTRL + ALT + DEL and brought up the Task Manager and closed as many applications as I could [in order to free up system resources in hopes of speeding things up].

My questions are:

  • How come there's so much stuff open in Task Manager?
  • How do I [prevent tasks that I don't want] from opening?
  • How can I tell which programs are going to shut down my computer (because I always manage to close the one that does that)! Also, some programs tell me that they are 'critical' and cannot be closed.
  • You've probably covered this in the past but I couldn't find it in the Gazette archive. Help? "

    My response:

    Unfortunately, the design of Windows Task Manager is very limited -- especially in a situation like this. Here's why:

    1. Task Manager does not report *all* the processes running on the computer.
    2. Task Manager will not tell you which processes are critical.
    3. Task Manager does not list which processes are attached to dependencies (I.E.: .DLL files).
    4. Task Manager will not always let you 'kick' a process that runs amuck. As I have discussed before, a process that runs wild can cause the entire operating system to crash.
    5. And if you use Windows 95, 98, or ME, Task Manager is *extremely* limited because it only lists tasks that are running: it does not display task memory / CPU usage or allow you to set process priority like Windows NT, 2000, and XP can.

    RE: Dedicated Process Viewers

    Back in September of 2003, I wrote an article on a program called "WinTasks Professional", by the same people who make SpeedUpMyPC and WinBackup.

    In short, WinTasks Pro is a Windows Task Manager on steroids: it allows you to safely allocate system resources to processes that need it the most, troubleshoot problems, and prevents certain tasks from running at Startup. Click here to view a detailed picture of WinTasks Professional.

    I personally use WinTasks Pro to boost the priority of my video encoding program -- which is *very* CPU intensive -- and it makes a huge difference. WinTasks Pro is also a great tool for monitoring suspicious tasks (I.E.: Spyware) and resolving .DLL Hell. The article is an excellent read -- especially if you want to learn how processes interact with the Windows Operating System. Plus, it's written in easy to understand English:

    WinTasks 5 Professional Review

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