Let’s be honest, the Windows Task Manager isn’t that great for understanding and managing the processes running on your computer. Even on Windows 8, where it’s much-improved, the task manager can’t come close to the power of Process Explorer. It’s part of the Sysinternals set of tools that Microsoft purchased – and for good reason. They’re among the most powerful system utilities for Windows.
Good PC ownership is a lot like good car ownership. You do more than just use it, you learn something about how it works. You don’t need to be a PC technician or a mechanic, but you should be able to identify certain signs of trouble so you can get your rig in for maintenance. Unfortunately, checking out your PC for failing hardware isn’t quite as hands-on and easy to do as checking your car for worn tires or dirty oil.
Every now and then I’ll learn a little tip that makes me think “well, if I known that a year ago then it’d have saved me hours of time”. I vividly remember learning how to use the copy and paste functions, all on my own, as a kid. It was like the entire Internet had just become twice as easy for me. Environment variables are a little-known detail of Windows, if you’re a novice user. They belong in this same realm of time-saving conversation.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running XP, Vista, 7, or 8, there are glaring weaknesses to Windows Explorer that we’ve all got to deal with. Fortunately, third-party developers have us covered (as always). If you’re turned away by Windows’ search indexing or the clunky feel of the Windows Explorer interface, you have other options. File management can be made incredibly easier if you look into something other than what Windows offers by default.