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Troubleshoot windows with the task manager
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Troubleshoot Windows with Task Manager

Task Manager is a Windows system utility that displays the
tasks or processes currently running on your computer. To
open Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. The Applcations tab
lists the applications currently running on your computer.
A single application may actually consist of several running
processes, and many programs that run in the background are
not listed (you can see icons for some of these programs in
the System Tray).

Note: With Windows 98 and Windows Me, Ctrl+Alt+Del will
open Program Manager, which allows you only to close
aplications. However, you can download one of the many Task
Manager utilities from the Web.

The Processes tab displays a comprehensive list of all the
processes currently running on your computer. This can be
very useful for monitoring your system. The process tab
displays information about the processor useage and memory
usage of each process. The problem is, how to identify a
process. Below is a list of some processes you may see in
Task Managers Processes list.

"System Idle Process"
"System" The Windows System Process
"SMSS.EXE" Session Manager Subsystem
"CSRSS.EXE" Client Server Runtime Subsystem
"WinLOGON.EXE" The Windows Logon process
"SERVICES.EXE" Services Control Manager
"LSASS.EXE" Local Security Authentication Server Service
"svchost.exe" Service Host
"spoolsv.exe" The print spooler service
"explorer.exe" Windows Explorer
"TASKMGR.EXE" The Task Manager
"regsvc.exe" Remote Registry Service

"System Idle Process" is basically another name for the
time when Windows is doing nothing. There are hundreds of
thousands of processes that run on a computer, so you will
definitely find names of many other processess that are
not listed above. For a list of well known processes,
You can also learn about almost any task by using it's
name as a search term in google.

Task Manager can also be used to tweak your system if it's
running slow. The Performance tab displays running graphs
of your computers CPU and memory usage. If the CPU usage
seems to be running over 80 percent most of the time, or if
the memory usage seems to be running higher than the total
physical memory, you may want to shut down some
applications or processes.

On the Process tab, you can identify processes that are
consuming a lot of processor time. Click twice on the CPU
column heading to sort the CPU column so the processes
hogging the most CPU time on top. You can sort the
"Mem Usage" column the same way.

On the Application tab, if you right click on the name of
an application and, in the popup menu that appears, choose
"Go To Process", Task Manager will open the Processes tab
and highlight the process that runs the application. On the
Processes tab, if you right-click on the name of a process,
you can choose "SetPriority" and promote the priority of
the process you need (or demote the priority of a different
process to free up some resources).

If you go to the Application tab and shut down an
application, you will shut down any processes related to
that application. Or, you might choose to shut down a
background process that you can identify. To shut down an
application or process, click on it's name in the list to
highlight it, then click on the End Task button.

On the Processes tab, if you right click on the name of a
process, you can choose "End Process Tree" to kill the
process and any sub-processes started by the process.

Task Manager can also be used for troubleshooting. If an
application freezes up, you can open Task Manager and shut
down the application. If the entire system freezes up, you
can use Task Manager to shut down a process that is hogging
all the CPU time or memory.

If you spend some time monitoring your computer with task
Manager, eventually you will become familiar with the
processes that commonly run. Then, when you see an
unfamiliar process, you can do a little investigation to
make sure it's not a virus. For example, if you see
msblast.exe in the process list, your computer is infected
with the Blaster virus. You might be able to detect and
eliminate a new virus before an antivirus update is available.

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Submitted August 22nd, 2008