<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/taskmanager5.png” />The Windows Task Manager is one of the operating system’s most useful utilities. It can be used to spot unwanted background applications, determine which programs are hogging your processing cycles and system memory, and shut down applications that have gone out of control.
What many users don’t realize, however, is that Windows Task Manager can be customized in numerous ways. You can even customize how it looks – if you don’t mind downloading a third party program capable of controlling the visuals.
Tweaking the Task Manager
Like any normal window the menu options at the top of the Task Manager controls additional available functions. What is easy to miss is the fact that these menu options change relative to the tab you have open in the Task Manager. If you simply took a quick look around the program without realizing this, you might miss out on some interesting features. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting features.
If you open the processes tab in Windows Task Manager and then go to View, you’ll find the Select Columns option. This will open a window that includes numerous options which can be used to customize the information that appears in the processes tab. For example, the Peak Working Set (Memory) option lets you see the peak memory used by a program, while the I/O Read and I/O writer categories let you see how often a program is performing read or write operations. There are too many options to discuss here, but Microsoft has a website that lists them all and what they mean.
Both the Performance and Networking tabs will give you a few options when you select the View option. You can select how quickly Task Manager updates, the way performance is shown (either as per core or a collective) and you can select Show Kernal Times, an option which displays the amount of time the processor spends in “kernel mode” (the core of the operating system). Changing the display so that it updates faster provides better real-time information but causes the graph to move so quickly that developing a picture of processor performance over time is difficult. Keep this in mind when deciding how quickly you want processor information updated – faster isn’t always better.
One final – and very handy – tip lets you get rid of the extra information surrounding the Task Manager. If you double click on the white border surrounding task manager, everything except for the core information will disappear. The result looks like this.
Further Customization with Task Manager Modder
The customizations discussed so far lets you tweak the information displayed. But what if you want to tweak the way Task Manager looks overall?
This requires a third party program called Task Manager Modder [Broken Link Removed]. This program lets you change the way the graphs look in the Performance tab, so you can customize it to something more agreeable (i.e. not neon green). This can be done by using the color controls at the bottom of the Task Manager Modder window.
In my case, I decided to go with a blue-and-white color scheme, as I find this to be very easy on my eyes. You can choose from pre-selected colors or, as I did, choose from a wide variety of hex colors. Once you’ve decided on a color scheme, you simply have to click on Modify Taskmgr. Task Manager, if open, will have to be re-opened. The results are very nice. These color changes also carry over to the Networking tab, but you can’t change the yellow axis on the left side.
Hopefully, these tips will help you become more buddy-buddy with the Windows Task Manager. It is truly a great resource for information about your machine, even more so than it appears at first glance.